33 found
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  1. What Is the Function of Confirmation Bias?Uwe Peters - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1351-1376.
    Confirmation bias is one of the most widely discussed epistemically problematic cognitions, challenging reliable belief formation and the correction of inaccurate views. Given its problematic nature, it remains unclear why the bias evolved and is still with us today. To offer an explanation, several philosophers and scientists have argued that the bias is in fact adaptive. I critically discuss three recent proposals of this kind before developing a novel alternative, what I call the ‘reality-matching account’. According to the account, confirmation (...)
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  2. Hasty Generalizations Are Pervasive in Experimental Philosophy: A Systematic Analysis.Uwe Peters & Olivier Lemeire - 2023 - Philosophy of Science.
    Scientists may sometimes generalize from their samples to broader populations when they have not yet sufficiently supported this generalization. Do such hasty generalizations also occur in experimental philosophy? To check, we analyzed 171 experimental philosophy studies published between 2017 and 2023. We found that most studies tested only Western populations but generalized beyond them without justification. There was also no evidence that studies with broader conclusions had larger, more diverse samples, but they nonetheless had higher citation impact. Our analyses reveal (...)
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  3. Science Communication and the Problematic Impact of Descriptive Norms.Uwe Peters - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (3):713-738.
    When scientists or science reporters communicate research results to the public, this often involves ethical and epistemic risks. One such risk arises when scientific claims cause cognitive or behavioural changes in the audience that contribute to the self-fulfilment of these claims. I argue that the ethical and epistemic problems that such self-fulfilment effects may pose are much broader and more common than hitherto appreciated. Moreover, these problems are often due to a specific psychological phenomenon that has been neglected in the (...)
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  4. Explainable AI lacks regulative reasons: why AI and human decision‑making are not equally opaque.Uwe Peters - forthcoming - AI and Ethics.
    Many artificial intelligence (AI) systems currently used for decision-making are opaque, i.e., the internal factors that determine their decisions are not fully known to people due to the systems’ computational complexity. In response to this problem, several researchers have argued that human decision-making is equally opaque and since simplifying, reason-giving explanations (rather than exhaustive causal accounts) of a decision are typically viewed as sufficient in the human case, the same should hold for algorithmic decision-making. Here, I contend that this argument (...)
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  5. Ideological diversity, hostility, and discrimination in philosophy.Uwe Peters, Nathan Honeycutt, Andreas De Block & Lee Jussim - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology 33 (4):511-548.
    Members of the field of philosophy have, just as other people, political convictions or, as psychologists call them, ideologies. How are different ideologies distributed and perceived in the field? Using the familiar distinction between the political left and right, we surveyed an international sample of 794 subjects in philosophy. We found that survey participants clearly leaned left (75%), while right-leaning individuals (14%) and moderates (11%) were underrepresented. Moreover, and strikingly, across the political spectrum, from very left-leaning individuals and moderates to (...)
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  6. Illegitimate Values, Confirmation Bias, and Mandevillian Cognition in Science.Uwe Peters - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (4):1061-1081.
    In the philosophy of science, it is a common proposal that values are illegitimate in science and should be counteracted whenever they drive inquiry to the confirmation of predetermined conclusions. Drawing on recent cognitive scientific research on human reasoning and confirmation bias, I argue that this view should be rejected. Advocates of it have overlooked that values that drive inquiry to the confirmation of predetermined conclusions can contribute to the reliability of scientific inquiry at the group level even when they (...)
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  7. Algorithmic Political Bias in Artificial Intelligence Systems.Uwe Peters - 2022 - Philosophy and Technology 35 (2):1-23.
    Some artificial intelligence systems can display algorithmic bias, i.e. they may produce outputs that unfairly discriminate against people based on their social identity. Much research on this topic focuses on algorithmic bias that disadvantages people based on their gender or racial identity. The related ethical problems are significant and well known. Algorithmic bias against other aspects of people’s social identity, for instance, their political orientation, remains largely unexplored. This paper argues that algorithmic bias against people’s political orientation can arise in (...)
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  8. Implicit bias, ideological bias, and epistemic risks in philosophy.Uwe Peters - 2018 - Mind and Language 34 (3):393-419.
    It has been argued that implicit biases are operative in philosophy and lead to significant epistemic costs in the field. Philosophers working on this issue have focussed mainly on implicit gender and race biases. They have overlooked ideological bias, which targets political orientations. Psychologists have found ideological bias in their field and have argued that it has negative epistemic effects on scientific research. I relate this debate to the field of philosophy and argue that if, as some studies suggest, the (...)
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  9. Generalization Bias in Science.Uwe Peters, Alexander Krauss & Oliver Braganza - 2022 - Cognitive Science 46 (9):e13188.
    Many scientists routinely generalize from study samples to larger populations. It is commonly assumed that this cognitive process of scientific induction is a voluntary inference in which researchers assess the generalizability of their data and then draw conclusions accordingly. We challenge this view and argue for a novel account. The account describes scientific induction as involving by default a generalization bias that operates automatically and frequently leads researchers to unintentionally generalize their findings without sufficient evidence. The result is unwarranted, overgeneralized (...)
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  10. Cultural Bias in Explainable AI Research.Uwe Peters & Mary Carman - forthcoming - Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research.
    For synergistic interactions between humans and artificial intelligence (AI) systems, AI outputs often need to be explainable to people. Explainable AI (XAI) systems are commonly tested in human user studies. However, whether XAI researchers consider potential cultural differences in human explanatory needs remains unexplored. We highlight psychological research that found significant differences in human explanations between many people from Western, commonly individualist countries and people from non-Western, often collectivist countries. We argue that XAI research currently overlooks these variations and that (...)
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  11. The complementarity of mindshaping and mindreading.Uwe Peters - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (3):533-549.
    Why do we engage in folk psychology, that is, why do we think about and ascribe propositional attitudes such as beliefs, desires, intentions etc. to people? On the standard view, folk psychology is primarily for mindreading, for detecting mental states and explaining and/or predicting people’s behaviour in terms of them. In contrast, McGeer (1996, 2007, 2015), and Zawidzki (2008, 2013) maintain that folk psychology is not primarily for mindreading but for mindshaping, that is, for moulding people’s behavior and minds (e.g., (...)
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  12. Linguistic Discrimination in Science: Can English Disfluency Help Debias Scientific Research?Uwe Peters - 2023 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 36 (1):61-79.
    The English language now dominates scientific communications. Yet, many scientists have English as their second language. Their English proficiency may therefore often be more limited than that of a ‘native speaker’, and their scientific contributions (e.g. manuscripts) in English may frequently contain linguistic features that disrupt the fluency of a reader’s, or listener’s information processing even when the contributions are understandable. Scientific gatekeepers (e.g. journal reviewers) sometimes cite these features to justify negative decisions on manuscripts. Such justifications may rest on (...)
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  13. Hidden figures: epistemic costs and benefits of detecting (invisible) diversity in science.Uwe Peters - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-21.
    Demographic diversity might often be present in a group without group members noticing it. What are the epistemic effects if they do? Several philosophers and social scientists have recently argued that when individuals detect demographic diversity in their group, this can result in epistemic benefits even if that diversity doesn’t involve cognitive differences. Here I critically discuss research advocating this proposal, introduce a distinction between two types of detection of demographic diversity, and apply this distinction to the theorizing on diversity (...)
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  14. Unjustified Sample Sizes and Generalizations in Explainable AI Research: Principles for More Inclusive User Studies.Uwe Peters & Mary Carman - forthcoming - IEEE Intelligent Systems.
    Many ethical frameworks require artificial intelligence (AI) systems to be explainable. Explainable AI (XAI) models are frequently tested for their adequacy in user studies. Since different people may have different explanatory needs, it is important that participant samples in user studies are large enough to represent the target population to enable generalizations. However, it is unclear to what extent XAI researchers reflect on and justify their sample sizes or avoid broad generalizations across people. We analyzed XAI user studies (N = (...)
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  15. Science Based on Artificial Intelligence Need not Pose a Social Epistemological Problem.Uwe Peters - 2024 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 13 (1).
    It has been argued that our currently most satisfactory social epistemology of science can’t account for science that is based on artificial intelligence (AI) because this social epistemology requires trust between scientists that can take full responsibility for the research tools they use, and scientists can’t take full responsibility for the AI tools they use since these systems are epistemically opaque. I think this argument overlooks that much AI-based science can be done without opaque models, and that agents can take (...)
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  16. The Philosophical Debate on Linguistic Bias: A Critical Perspective.Uwe Peters - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
    Drawing on empirical findings, a number of philosophers have recently argued that people who use English as a foreign language may face a linguistic bias in academia in that they or their contributions may be perceived more negatively than warranted because of their English. I take a critical look at this argument. I first distinguish different phenomena that may be conceptualized as linguistic bias but that should be kept separate to avoid overgeneralizations. I then examine a range of empirical studies (...)
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  17. Reclaiming Control: Extended Mindreading and the Tracking of Digital Footprints.Uwe Peters - 2022 - Social Epistemology 36 (3):267-282.
    It is well known that on the Internet, computer algorithms track our website browsing, clicks, and search history to infer our preferences, interests, and goals. The nature of this algorithmic tracking remains unclear, however. Does it involve what many cognitive scientists and philosophers call ‘mindreading’, i.e., an epistemic capacity to attribute mental states to people to predict, explain, or influence their actions? Here I argue that it does. This is because humans are in a particular way embedded in the process (...)
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  18. An argument for egalitarian confirmation bias and against political diversity in academia.Uwe Peters - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):11999-12019.
    It has recently been suggested that politically motivated cognition leads progressive individuals to form beliefs that underestimate real differences between social groups and to process information selectively to support these beliefs and an egalitarian outlook. I contend that this tendency, which I shall call ‘egalitarian confirmation bias’, is often ‘Mandevillian’ in nature. That is, while it is epistemically problematic in one’s own cognition, it often has effects that significantly improve other people’s truth tracking, especially that of stigmatized individuals in academia. (...)
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  19.  93
    Are generics and negativity about social groups common on social media? A comparative analysis of Twitter (X) data.Uwe Peters & Ignacio Ojea Quintana - 2024 - Synthese 203 (6):1-22.
    Many philosophers hold that generics (i.e., unquantified generalizations) are pervasive in communication and that when they are about social groups, this may offend and polarize people because generics gloss over variations between individuals. Generics about social groups might be particularly common on Twitter (X). This remains unexplored, however. Using machine learning (ML) techniques, we therefore developed an automatic classifier for social generics, applied it to 1.1 million tweets about people, and analyzed the tweets. While it is often suggested that generics (...)
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  20. Objectivity, perceptual constancy, and teleology in young children.Uwe Peters - 2021 - Mind and Language 37 (5):975-992.
    Can young children such as 3-year-olds represent the world objectively? Some prominent developmental psychologists—such as Perner and Tomasello—assume so. I argue that this view is susceptible to a prima facie powerful objection: To represent objectively, one must be able to represent not only features of the entities represented but also features of objectification itself, which 3-year-olds cannot do yet. Drawing on Burge's work on perceptual constancy, I provide a response to this objection and motivate a distinction between three different kinds (...)
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  21. Teleosemantics, Swampman, and Strong Representationalism.Uwe Peters - 2014 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 90 (1):273–288.
    Teleosemantics explains mental representation in terms of biological function and selection history. One of the main objections to the account is the so-called ‘Swampman argument’ (Davidson 1987), which holds that there could be a creature with mental representation even though it lacks a selection history. A number of teleosemanticists reject the argument by emphasising that it depends on assuming a creature that is fi ctitious and hence irrelevant for teleosemantics because the theory is only concerned with representations in real-world organisms (...)
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  22. On the Automaticity and Ethics of Belief.Uwe Peters - 2017 - Teoria:99–115..
    Recently, philosophers have appealed to empirical studies to argue that whenever we think that p, we automatically believe that p (Millikan 2004; Mandelbaum 2014; Levy and Mandelbaum 2014). Levy and Mandelbaum (2014) have gone further and claimed that the automaticity of believing has implications for the ethics of belief in that it creates epistemic obligations for those who know about their automatic belief acquisition. I use theoretical considerations and psychological findings to raise doubts about the empirical case for the view (...)
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  23. Living with Uncertainty: Full Transparency of AI isn’t Needed for Epistemic Trust in AI-based Science.Uwe Peters - forthcoming - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.
    Can AI developers be held epistemically responsible for the processing of their AI systems when these systems are epistemically opaque? And can explainable AI (XAI) provide public justificatory reasons for opaque AI systems’ outputs? Koskinen (2024) gives negative answers to both questions. Here, I respond to her and argue for affirmative answers. More generally, I suggest that when considering people’s uncertainty about the factors causally determining an opaque AI’s output, it might be worth keeping in mind that a degree of (...)
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  24. Teleology and mentalizing in the explanation of action.Uwe Peters - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):2941-2957.
    In empirically informed research on action explanation, philosophers and developmental psychologists have recently proposed a teleological account of the way in which we make sense of people’s intentional behavior. It holds that we typically don’t explain an agent’s action by appealing to her mental states but by referring to the objective, publically accessible facts of the world that count in favor of performing the action so as to achieve a certain goal. Advocates of the teleological account claim that this strategy (...)
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  25. How (Many) Descriptive Claims about Political Polarization Exacerbate Polarization.Uwe Peters - forthcoming - Journal of Social and Political Psychology.
    Recently, researchers and reporters have made a wide range of claims about the distribution, nature, and societal impact of political polarization. Here I offer reasons to believe that, even when they are correct and prima facie merely descriptive, many of these claims have the highly negative side effect of increasing political polarization. This is because of the interplay of two factors that have so far been neglected in the work on political polarization, namely that (1) people have a tendency to (...)
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  26. Human thinking, shared intentionality, and egocentric biases.Uwe Peters - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (6):1-16.
    The paper briefly summarises and critiques Tomasello’s A Natural History of Human Thinking. After offering an overview of the book, the paper focusses on one particular part of Tomasello’s proposal on the evolution of uniquely human thinking and raises two points of criticism against it. One of them concerns his notion of thinking. The other pertains to empirical findings on egocentric biases in communication.
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  27. Values in Science: Assessing the Case for Mixed Claims.Uwe Peters - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Social and medical scientists frequently produce empirical generalizations that involve concepts partly defined by value judgments. These generalizations, which have been called ‘mixed claims’, raise interesting questions. Does the presence of them in science imply that science is value-laden? Is the value-ladenness of mixed claims special compared to other kinds of value-ladenness of science? Do we lose epistemically if we reformulate these claims as conditional statements? And if we want to allow mixed claims in science, do we need a new (...)
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  28. Introspection, mindreading, and the transparency of belief.Uwe Peters - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (3):1086-1102.
    This paper explores the nature of self-knowledge of beliefs by investigating the relationship between self-knowledge of beliefs and one's knowledge of other people's beliefs. It introduces and defends a new account of self-knowledge of beliefs according to which this type of knowledge is developmentally interconnected with and dependent on resources already used for acquiring knowledge of other people's beliefs, which is inferential in nature. But when these resources are applied to oneself, one attains and subsequently frequently uses a method for (...)
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  29. Interpretive sensory-access theory and conscious intentions.Uwe Peters - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (4):583–595.
    It is typically assumed that while we know other people’s mental states by observing and interpreting their behavior, we know our own mental states by introspection, i.e., without interpreting ourselves. In his latest book, The opacity of mind: An integrative theory of self-knowledge, Peter Carruthers (2011) argues against this assumption. He holds that findings from across the cognitive sciences strongly suggest that self-knowledge of conscious propositional attitudes such as intentions, judgments, and decisions involves a swift and unconscious process of self-interpretation (...)
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  30. Extended Implicit Bias: When the Metaphysics and Ethics of Implicit Bias Collide.Uwe Peters - 2022 - Erkenntnis 88 (8):3457-3478.
    It has recently been argued that to tackle social injustice, implicit biases and unjust social structures should be targeted equally because they sustain and ontologically overlap with each other. Here I develop this thought further by relating it to the hypothesis of extended cognition. I argue that if we accept common conditions for extended cognition then people’s implicit biases are often partly realized by and so extended into unjust social structures. This supports the view that we should counteract psychological and (...)
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  31. Algorithmic Political Bias Can Reduce Political Polarization.Uwe Peters - 2022 - Philosophy and Technology 35 (3):1-7.
    Does algorithmic political bias contribute to an entrenchment and polarization of political positions? Franke argues that it may do so because the bias involves classifications of people as liberals, conservatives, etc., and individuals often conform to the ways in which they are classified. I provide a novel example of this phenomenon in human–computer interactions and introduce a social psychological mechanism that has been overlooked in this context but should be experimentally explored. Furthermore, while Franke proposes that algorithmic political classifications entrench (...)
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  32. Self-Knowledge and Consciousness of Attitudes.Uwe Peters - 2014 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 21 (1-2):139-155.
    Suppose we know our own attitudes, e.g. judgments and decisions, only by unconsciously interpreting ourselves. Would this undermine the assumption that there are conscious attitudes? Carruthers has argued that if the mentioned view of selfknowledge is combined with either of the two most common approaches to consciousness, i.e. the higher-order state account or the global workspace theory , then the conjunction of these theories implies that there are no conscious attitudes. I shall show that Carruthers' argument against the existence of (...)
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  33. Evolution, Moral Justification, and Moral Realism.Uwe Peters - 2012 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica Junior 3 (1):8-18.
    Does evolutionary theory have the potential to undermine morality? In his book The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce (2006) argues for a positive answer. He contends that an evolutionary account of morality would undermine moral judgements and lend support to moral scepticism. I offer a critique of Joyce’s argument. As it turns out, his case can be read in two different ways. It could be construed as an argument to establish a general scepticism about the justification of moral judgements. Or (...)
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