Abraham Kuyper Center

Subproject 3

Collective Intellectual Virtues

Project leader: dr. Jeroen de Ridder


Universities have become centers of collaboration. Research is done by and in research groups. This development is most pronounced in the sciences but teamwork is becoming ubiquitous in the humanities too. Arguably, teamwork is equally important in the private and public sector.

Given the complexity of the challenges that we face in business and government, we need the insight and wisdom of collectives, rather than just individuals. An important question, then, is how groups and other collectives can perform well from an epistemic perspective.The guiding thought for this project is that the perspective of virtue epistemology—i.e., thinking about the qualities that make an agent intellectually excellent and their mutual relations—can also be fruitfully applied to collectives.

Its central question is:

How can groups be intellectually virtuous and how can we stimulate collective intellectual virtues and educate for them?

The first part of this project consists of an empirically informed conceptual analysis of what collective intellectual virtues are and under what sort of conditions groups can be expected to manifest them. The second part applies the results to the classroom and will develop teaching materials that can help to foster intellectual virtues in students.