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  1. 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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  • Bias and Interpersonal Skepticism.Robert Pasnau - 2022 - Noûs 56 (1):154-175.
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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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  • 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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  • Against Irrationalism in the Theory of Propaganda.Megan Hyska - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-15.
    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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  • 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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  • Motivated Reasoning and the Ethics of Belief.Jon Ellis - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (6):e12828.
    Philosophy Compass, Volume 17, Issue 6, June 2022.
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  • Group Epistemology and Structural Factors in Online Group Polarization.Kenneth Boyd - forthcoming - Episteme:1-16.
    There have been many discussions recently from philosophers, cognitive scientists, and psychologists about group polarization, particularly with regards to political issues and scientific issues that have become markers of social identity, such as anthropogenic climate change and vaccine hesitancy. Online and social media environments in particular have received a lot of attention in these discussions, 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 (...)
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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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  • The Problem with Disagreement on Social Media: Moral Not Epistemic.Elizabeth Edenberg - forthcoming - 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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  • 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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  • Being Rational and Being Wrong.Kevin Dorst - manuscript
    Do people tend to be overconfident in their opinions? Many think so. They’ve run studies to test whether people are calibrated: whether their 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 observed over-calibration, it’s inferred that people are irrationally overconfident. My question: When—and why—is this inference warranted? Answering this question requires articulating a general connection (...)
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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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