Epistemically Pernicious Groups and the Groupstrapping Problem

Social Epistemology 33 (1):61-73 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Recently, there has been growing concern that increased partisanship in news sources, as well as new ways in which people acquire information, has led to a proliferation of epistemic bubbles and echo chambers: in the former, one tends to acquire information from a limited range of sources, ones that generally support the kinds of beliefs that one already has, while the latter function in the same way, but possess the additional characteristic that certain beliefs are actively reinforced. Here I argue, first, that we should conceive of epistemic bubbles and echo chambers as types of epistemically pernicious groups, and second, that while analyses of such groups have typically focused on relationships between individual members, at least part of what such groups epistemically pernicious pertains to the way that members rely on the groups themselves as sources of information. I argue that member reliance on groups results in groups being attributed a degree of credibility that outruns their warrant, a process I call groupstrapping. I argue that by recognizing the groupstrapping as an illicit method of forming and updating beliefs we can make progress on some of the open questions concerning epistemically pernicious groups.

Author's Profile

Kenneth Boyd
University of Toronto, St. George Campus (PhD)


Added to PP

888 (#10,330)

6 months
95 (#15,700)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?