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  1. The Epistemic Aims of Democracy.Robert Weston Siscoe - 2023 - Philosophy Compass 18 (11):e12941.
    Many political philosophers have held that democracy has epistemic benefits. Most commonly, this case is made by arguing that democracies are better able to track the truth than other political arrangements. Truth, however, is not the only epistemic good that is politically valuable. A number of other epistemic goods – goods including evidence, intellectual virtue, epistemic justice, and empathetic understanding – can also have political value, and in ways that go beyond the value of truth. In this paper, I will (...)
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  • Interthematic Polarization.Finnur Dellsén - 2024 - American Philosophical Quarterly 61 (1):45-58.
    In recent epistemology, belief polarization is generally defined as a process by which a disagreement on a single proposition becomes more extreme over time. Outside of the philosophical literature, however, ‘polarization’ is often used for a different epistemic phenomenon, namely the process by which people’s beliefs on unrelated topics become increasingly correlated over time. This paper argues that the latter type of polarization, here labeled interthematic polarization, is often rational from each individual’s point of view. This suggests that belief polarization (...)
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  • Argumentation-induced rational issue polarisation.Felix Kopecky - 2024 - Philosophical Studies 181 (1):83-107.
    Computational models have shown how polarisation can rise among deliberating agents as they approximate epistemic rationality. This paper provides further support for the thesis that polarisation can rise under condition of epistemic rationality, but it does not depend on limitations that extant models rely on, such as memory restrictions or biased evaluation of other agents’ testimony. Instead, deliberation is modelled through agents’ purposeful introduction of arguments and their rational reactions to introductions of others. This process induces polarisation dynamics on its (...)
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  • Against Irrationalism in the Theory of Propaganda.Megan Hyska - 2023 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 9 (2):303-317.
    According to many accounts, propaganda is a variety of politically significant signal with a distinctive connection to irrationality. This irrationality may be theoretical, or practical; it may be supposed that propaganda characteristically elicits this irrationality anew, or else that it exploits its prior existence. The view that encompasses such accounts we will call irrationalism. This essay presents two classes of propaganda that do not bear the sort of connection to irrationality posited by the irrationalist: hard propaganda and propaganda by the (...)
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  • Endogenous epistemic factionalization.James Owen Weatherall & Cailin O’Connor - 2020 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 25):6179-6200.
    Why do people who disagree about one subject tend to disagree about other subjects as well? In this paper, we introduce a model to explore this phenomenon of ‘epistemic factionization’. Agents attempt to discover the truth about multiple propositions by testing the world and sharing evidence gathered. But agents tend to mistrust evidence shared by those who do not hold similar beliefs. This mistrust leads to the endogenous emergence of factions of agents with multiple, highly correlated, polarized beliefs.
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  • Information elaboration and epistemic effects of diversity.Daniel Steel, Sina Fazelpour, Bianca Crewe & Kinley Gillette - 2019 - Synthese 198 (2):1287-1307.
    We suggest that philosophical accounts of epistemic effects of diversity have given insufficient attention to the relationship between demographic diversity and information elaboration, the process whereby knowledge dispersed in a group is elicited and examined. We propose an analysis of IE that clarifies hypotheses proposed in the empirical literature and their relationship to philosophical accounts of diversity effects. Philosophical accounts have largely overlooked the possibility that demographic diversity may improve group performance by enhancing IE, and sometimes fail to explore the (...)
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  • Don’t forget forgetting: the social epistemic importance of how we forget.Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Bennett Holman, Karen Kovaka, Jiin Jung & William J. Berger - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5373-5394.
    We motivate a picture of social epistemology that sees forgetting as subject to epistemic evaluation. Using computer simulations of a simple agent-based model, we show that how agents forget can have as large an impact on group epistemic outcomes as how they share information. But, how we forget, unlike how we form beliefs, isn’t typically taken to be the sort of thing that can be epistemically rational or justified. We consider what we take to be the most promising argument for (...)
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  • Don’t forget forgetting: the social epistemic importance of how we forget.Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Bennett Holman, Karen Kovaka, Jiin Jung & William Berger - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5373-5394.
    We motivate a picture of social epistemology that sees forgetting as subject to epistemic evaluation. Using computer simulations of a simple agent-based model, we show that how agents forget can have as large an impact on group epistemic outcomes as how they share information. But, how we forget, unlike how we form beliefs, isn’t typically taken to be the sort of thing that can be epistemically rational or justified. We consider what we take to be the most promising argument for (...)
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  • Old Bad Attitudes.Robert Pasnau - 2022 - Philosophers' Imprint 22.
    The systematic study of male misogyny began with Christine de Pizan at the start of the fifteenth century. Although her work has generally been neglected within the history of philosophy, her ideas illuminate many questions of pressing current philosophical concern, including the nature of epistemic injustice, the prospects for an individualistic methodology in social theory, and the epistemology of disagreement.
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  • Bias and interpersonal skepticism.Robert Pasnau - 2022 - Noûs 56 (1):154-175.
    Recent philosophy has paid considerable attention to the way our biases are liable to encroach upon our cognitive lives, diminishing our capacity to know and unjustly denigrating the knowledge of others. The extent of the bias, and the range of domains to which it applies, has struck some as so great as to license talk of a new form of skepticism. I argue that these depressing consequences are real and, in some ways, even more intractable than has previously been recognized. (...)
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  • Scientific polarization.Cailin O’Connor & James Owen Weatherall - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):855-875.
    Contemporary societies are often “polarized”, in the sense that sub-groups within these societies hold stably opposing beliefs, even when there is a fact of the matter. Extant models of polarization do not capture the idea that some beliefs are true and others false. Here we present a model, based on the network epistemology framework of Bala and Goyal, 784–811 1998), in which polarization emerges even though agents gather evidence about their beliefs, and true belief yields a pay-off advantage. As we (...)
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  • The computational philosophy: simulation as a core philosophical method.Conor Mayo-Wilson & Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3647-3673.
    Modeling and computer simulations, we claim, should be considered core philosophical methods. More precisely, we will defend two theses. First, philosophers should use simulations for many of the same reasons we currently use thought experiments. In fact, simulations are superior to thought experiments in achieving some philosophical goals. Second, devising and coding computational models instill good philosophical habits of mind. Throughout the paper, we respond to the often implicit objection that computer modeling is “not philosophical.”.
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  • What are the chances you’re right about everything? An epistemic challenge for modern partisanship.Hrishikesh Joshi - 2020 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 19 (1):36-61.
    The American political landscape exhibits significant polarization. People’s political beliefs cluster around two main camps. However, many of the issues with respect to which these two camps disagree seem to be rationally orthogonal. This feature raises an epistemic challenge for the political partisan. If she is justified in consistently adopting the party line, it must be true that her side is reliable on the issues that are the subject of disagreements. It would then follow that the other side is anti-reliable (...)
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  • Prediction with expert advice applied to the problem of prediction with expert advice.Daniel A. Herrmann - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-24.
    We often need to have beliefs about things on which we are not experts. Luckily, we often have access to expert judgements on such topics. But how should we form our beliefs on the basis of expert opinion when experts conflict in their judgments? This is the core of the novice/2-expert problem in social epistemology. A closely related question is important in the context of policy making: how should a policy maker use expert judgments when making policy in domains in (...)
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  • The role of source reliability in belief polarisation.Leah Henderson & Alexander Gebharter - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10253-10276.
    Psychological studies show that the beliefs of two agents in a hypothesis can diverge even if both agents receive the same evidence. This phenomenon of belief polarisation is often explained by invoking biased assimilation of evidence, where the agents’ prior views about the hypothesis affect the way they process the evidence. We suggest, using a Bayesian model, that even if such influence is excluded, belief polarisation can still arise by another mechanism. This alternative mechanism involves differential weighting of the evidence (...)
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  • Echo Chambers and Friendship.Alper Güngör - forthcoming - Episteme:1-13.
    Are the members of echo chambers blameworthy for their beliefs? If we follow Sarah Stroud's account of friendship, we end up with the following conclusion: if echo chambers involve friendship, then the individuals have strong reasons not to live up to epistemic demands or ideals when the friendships are formed in the echo chambers they are members of. This result stands in striking contrast with the received view, according to which the members of echo chambers are blameworthy for their epistemic (...)
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  • Motivated reasoning and the ethics of belief.Jon Ellis - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (6):e12828.
    In recent years, motivated reasoning has received significant attention across numerous areas of philosophy, including political philosophy, social philosophy, epistemology, moral psychology, philosophy of science, even metaphysics. At the heart of much of this interest is the idea that motivated reasoning (e.g., rationalization, wishful thinking, and self‐deception) is problematic, that it runs afoul of epistemic normativity, or is otherwise irrational. Is motivated reasoning epistemically problematic? Is it always? When it is, what is the nature of the violation? Philosophical projects on (...)
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  • Rational Polarization.Kevin Dorst - 2023 - Philosophical Review 132 (3):355-458.
    Predictable polarization is everywhere: we can often predict how people’s opinions, including our own, will shift over time. Extant theories either neglect the fact that we can predict our own polarization, or explain it through irrational mechanisms. They needn’t. Empirical studies suggest that polarization is predictable when evidence is ambiguous, that is, when the rational response is not obvious. I show how Bayesians should model such ambiguity and then prove that—assuming rational updates are those which obey the value of evidence—ambiguity (...)
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  • Being Rational and Being Wrong.Kevin Dorst - 2023 - Philosophers' Imprint 23 (1).
    Do people tend to be overconfident? Many think so. They’ve run studies on whether people are calibrated: whether their average confidence in their opinions matches the proportion of those opinions that are true. Under certain conditions, people are systematically ‘over-calibrated’—for example, of the opinions they’re 80% confident in, only 60% are true. From this empirical over-calibration, it’s inferred that people are irrationally overconfident. My question: When and why is this inference warranted? Answering it requires articulating a general connection between being (...)
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  • Group Epistemology and Structural Factors in Online Group Polarization.Kenneth Boyd - 2023 - Episteme 20 (1):57-72.
    There have been many discussions recently from philosophers, cognitive scientists, and psychologists about group polarization, with online and social media environments in particular receiving a lot of attention, both because of people's increasing reliance on such environments for receiving and exchanging information and because such environments often allow individuals to selectively interact with those who are like-minded. My goal here is to argue that the group epistemologist can facilitate understanding the kinds of factors that drive group polarization in a way (...)
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  • From Belief Polarization to Echo Chambers: A Rationalizing Account.Endre Begby - forthcoming - Episteme:1-21.
    Belief polarization is widely seen to threaten havoc on our shared political lives. It is often assumed that BP is the product of epistemically irrational behaviors at the individual level. After distinguishing between BP as it occurs in intra-group and inter-group settings, this paper argues that neither process necessarily reflects individual epistemic irrationality. It is true that these processes can work in tandem to produce so-called “echo chambers.” But while echo chambers are often problematic from the point of view of (...)
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  • The preference for belief, issue polarization, and echo chambers.Bert Baumgaertner & Florian Justwan - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-27.
    Some common explanations of issue polarization and echo chambers rely on social or cognitive mechanisms of exclusion. Accordingly, suggested interventions like “be more open-minded” target these mechanisms: avoid epistemic bubbles and don’t discount contrary information. Contrary to such explanations, we show how a much weaker mechanism—the preference for belief—can produce issue polarization in epistemic communities with little to no mechanisms of exclusion. We present a network model that demonstrates how a dynamic interaction between the preference for belief and common structures (...)
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  • Religion and identity polarisation: A slight note from the frontier region.Muhammad N. Ichsan Azis, Muhammad Amir, Muh Subair, Syamsurijal Syamsurijal, Abdul Asis & Muhammad I. Syuhudi - 2023 - HTS Theological Studies 79 (2):7.
    This article examined the recent emergence of the national and international issue of religious polarisation and identity, which affects some groups’ populism and fanaticism. Regarding social phenomena, religion and identity are intertwined like the two sides of a coin. This discourse has an impact how to interpret diversity on religious issues that are caused by political influences. Given the polarisation of identity politics and religion, the national and state campaign slogan ‘unity in diversity’ is merely wishful thinking. The polarisation of (...)
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  • There's a certain slant of light: Three attitudes toward the political turn in analytic philosophy.Manuel Almagro & Sergio Guerra - 2023 - Metaphilosophy 54 (2-3):324-340.
    There has been a growing interest within analytic philosophy in addressing political and social issues, which has been referred to as the “political turn” in the discipline. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, it discusses the very characterization of the political turn. In particular, it introduces the definition proposed by Bordonaba-Plou, Fernández-Castro, and Torices, suggests that we should not consider the turn a form of activism, and explores an additional benefit of the ideal/nonideal distinction for characterizing the turn. (...)
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  • The Problem with Disagreement on Social Media: Moral not Epistemic.Elizabeth Edenberg - 2021 - In Elizabeth Edenberg & Michael Hannon (eds.), Political Epistemology. Oxford, UK:
    Intractable political disagreements threaten to fracture the common ground upon which we can build a political community. The deepening divisions in society are partly fueled by the ways social media has shaped political engagement. Social media allows us to sort ourselves into increasingly likeminded groups, consume information from different sources, and end up in polarized and insular echo chambers. To solve this, many argue for various ways of cultivating more responsible epistemic agency. This chapter argues that this epistemic lens does (...)
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  • Social epistemology.Alvin I. Goldman - 2001 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Social epistemology is the study of the social dimensions of knowledge or information. There is little consensus, however, on what the term "knowledge" comprehends, what is the scope of the "social", or what the style or purpose of the study should be. According to some writers, social epistemology should retain the same general mission as classical epistemology, revamped in the recognition that classical epistemology was too individualistic. According to other writers, social epistemology should be a more radical departure from classical (...)
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  • Social epistemology.Alvin Goldman - 2006 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Social epistemology is the study of the social dimensions of knowledge or information. There is little consensus, however, on what the term "knowledge" comprehends, what is the scope of the "social", or what the style or purpose of the study should be. According to some writers, social epistemology should retain the same general mission as classical epistemology, revamped in the recognition that classical epistemology was too individualistic. According to other writers, social epistemology should be a more radical departure from classical (...)
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  • A Guide to Political Epistemology.Michael Hannon & Elizabeth Edenberg - forthcoming - In Jennifer Lackey & Aidan McGlynn (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Social Epistemology.
    Political epistemology is a newly flourishing area of philosophy, but there is no comprehensive overview to this burgeoning field. This chapter maps out the terrain of political epistemology, highlights some of the key questions and topics of this field, draws connections across seemingly disparate areas of work, and briefly situates this field within its historical and contemporary contexts.
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  • A Multidisciplinary Understanding of Polarization.Jiin Jung, Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, William J. Berger, Bennett Holman & Karen Kovaka - 2019 - American Psychologist 74:301-314.
    This article aims to describe the last 10 years of the collaborative scientific endeavors on polarization in particular and collective problem-solving in general by our multidisciplinary research team. We describe the team’s disciplinary composition—social psychology, political science, social philosophy/epistemology, and complex systems science— highlighting the shared and unique skill sets of our group members and how each discipline contributes to studying polarization and collective problem-solving. With an eye to the literature on team dynamics, we describe team logistics and processes that (...)
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