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Emily Sullivan
Eindhoven University of Technology
Emily Sullivan
Saginaw Valley State University
  1. Vulnerability in Social Epistemic Networks.Emily Sullivan, Max Sondag, Ignaz Rutter, Wouter Meulemans, Scott Cunningham, Bettina Speckmann & Mark Alfano - forthcoming - International Journal of Philosophical Studies:1-23.
    Social epistemologists should be well-equipped to explain and evaluate the growing vulnerabilities associated with filter bubbles, echo chambers, and group polarization in social media. However, almost all social epistemology has been built for social contexts that involve merely a speaker-hearer dyad. Filter bubbles, echo chambers, and group polarization all presuppose much larger and more complex network structures. In this paper, we lay the groundwork for a properly social epistemology that gives the role and structure of networks their due. In particular, (...)
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  2. Understanding From Machine Learning Models.Emily Sullivan - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz035.
    Simple idealized models seem to provide more understanding than opaque, complex, and hyper-realistic models. However, an increasing number of scientists are going in the opposite direction by utilizing opaque machine learning models to make predictions and draw inferences, suggesting that scientists are opting for models that have less potential for understanding. Are scientists trading understanding for some other epistemic or pragmatic good when they choose a machine learning model? Or are the assumptions behind why minimal models provide understanding misguided? In (...)
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  3. Can Real Social Epistemic Networks Deliver the Wisdom of Crowds?Emily Sullivan, Max Sondag, Ignaz Rutter, Wouter Meulemans, Scott Cunningham, Bettina Speckmann & Mark Alfano - forthcoming - In Tania Lombrozo, Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    In this paper, we explain and showcase the promising methodology of testimonial network analysis and visualization for experimental epistemology, arguing that it can be used to gain insights and answer philosophical questions in social epistemology. Our use case is the epistemic community that discusses vaccine safety primarily in English on Twitter. In two studies, we show, using both statistical analysis and exploratory data visualization, that there is almost no neutral or ambivalent discussion of vaccine safety on Twitter. Roughly half the (...)
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  4. Negative Epistemic Exemplars.Mark Alfano & Emily Sullivan - 2019 - In Benjamin Sherman & Stacey Goguen (eds.), Overcoming Epistemic Injustice: Social and Psychological Perspectives. Rowman & Littlefield.
    In this chapter, we address the roles that exemplars might play in a comprehensive response to epistemic injustice. Fricker defines epistemic injustices as harms people suffer specifically in their capacity as (potential) knowers. We focus on testimonial epistemic injustice, which occurs when someone’s assertoric speech acts are systematically met with either too little or too much credence by a biased audience. Fricker recommends a virtue­theoretic response: people who do not suffer from biases should try to maintain their disposition towards naive (...)
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  5. Ethical Pitfalls for Natural Language Processing in Psychology.Mark Alfano, Emily Sullivan & Amir Ebrahimi Fard - forthcoming - In Morteza Dehghani & Ryan Boyd (eds.), The Atlas of Language Analysis in Psychology. Guilford Press.
    Knowledge is power. Knowledge about human psychology is increasingly being produced using natural language processing (NLP) and related techniques. The power that accompanies and harnesses this knowledge should be subject to ethical controls and oversight. In this chapter, we address the ethical pitfalls that are likely to be encountered in the context of such research. These pitfalls occur at various stages of the NLP pipeline, including data acquisition, enrichment, analysis, storage, and sharing. We also address secondary uses of the results (...)
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  6. Vectors of Epistemic Insecurity.Emily Sullivan & Mark Alfano - forthcoming - In Ian James Kidd, Heather Battaly & Quassim Cassam (eds.), Vice Epistemology: Theory and Practice. Routledge.
    Epistemologists have addressed a variety of modal epistemic standings, such as sensitivity, safety, risk, and epistemic virtue. These concepts mark out the ways that beliefs can fail to track the truth, articulate the conditions needed for knowledge, and indicate ways to become a better epistemic agent. However, it is our contention that current ways of carving up epistemic modality ignore the complexities that emerge when individuals are embedded within a community and listening to a variety of sources, some of whom (...)
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  7. Universality Caused: The Case of Renormalization Group Explanation.Emily Sullivan - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (3):36.
    Recently, many have argued that there are certain kinds of abstract mathematical explanations that are noncausal. In particular, the irrelevancy approach suggests that abstracting away irrelevant causal details can leave us with a noncausal explanation. In this paper, I argue that the common example of Renormalization Group explanations of universality used to motivate the irrelevancy approach deserves more critical attention. I argue that the reasons given by those who hold up RG as noncausal do not stand up to critical scrutiny. (...)
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  8.  87
    Humility in Networks.Mark Alfano & Emily Sullivan - forthcoming - In Alessandra Tanesini, Michael Lynch & Mark Alfano (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Humility. Routledge.
    What do humility, intellectual humility, and open-mindedness mean in the context of inter-group conflict? We spend most of our time with ingroup members, such as family, friends, and colleagues. Yet our biggest disagreements —— about practical, moral, and epistemic matters —— are likely to be with those who do not belong to our ingroup. An attitude of humility towards the former might be difficult to integrate with a corresponding attitude of humility towards the latter, leading to smug tribalism that masquerades (...)
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