Joint Abilities, Joint Know-how and Collective Knowledge

Seumas Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


In this article, I introduce and analyze the notion of joint abilities; a species of ability possessed by agents who perform joint actions of a certain kind (or kinds). Joint abilities are abilities possessed by individual agents; however, they are possessed jointly. I also introduce and analyze an important species of joint abilities, namely, joint epistemic abilities - the exercise of which consists of joint epistemic action. (I also distinguish joint epistemic abilities from the related notion of joint know-how.) Joint epistemic actions yield collective knowledge of various kinds and many, but by no means all, joint epistemic actions consist of the exercise of joint epistemic abilities. Joint epistemic abilities are an important phenomenon since, it turns out, they underpin a good deal of collective knowledge, including a good deal of scientific knowledge. Finally, I address some problems that arise for my notion of joint epistemic abilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-212
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Epistemology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • collective knowledge
  • Joint abilities
  • joint action
  • joint epistemic action
  • joint know-how


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