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Is Conspiracy Theorising Irrational? Neil Levy – Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective
"Conspiratorial ideation—as I will call the disposition to be accepting of unwarranted conspiracy theories—is widely regarded as a product of irrationality or epistemic vice. I argue that it is not: the dispositions that underlie it are not rationally criticisable. Some of the dispositions underlying such ideation is the product of mistrust and heightened vigilance, and these dispositions are warranted as responses to (usually real) inequality and exploitation. Other dispositions are warranted as adaptations for filtering testimony. While those who accept unwarranted conspiracy theories are being led astray epistemically, the solution to this problem is not to alter their dispositions but instead to change the conditions that make their mistrust appropriate."
conspiracy  epistemology  rationality 
october 2019 by tsuomela
True Enough | The MIT Press
"The development of an epistemology that explains how science and art embody and convey understanding. Philosophy valorizes truth, holding that there can never be epistemically good reasons to accept a known falsehood, or to accept modes of justification that are not truth conducive. How can this stance account for the epistemic standing of science, which unabashedly relies on models, idealizations, and thought experiments that are known not to be true? In True Enough, Catherine Elgin argues that we should not assume that the inaccuracy of models and idealizations constitutes an inadequacy. To the contrary, their divergence from truth or representational accuracy fosters their epistemic functioning. When effective, models and idealizations are, Elgin contends, felicitous falsehoods that exemplify features of the phenomena they bear on. Because works of art deploy the same sorts of felicitous falsehoods, she argues, they also advance understanding. Elgin develops a holistic epistemology that focuses on the understanding of broad ranges of phenomena rather than knowledge of individual facts. Epistemic acceptability, she maintains, is a matter not of truth-conduciveness, but of what would be reflectively endorsed by the members of an idealized epistemic community—a quasi-Kantian realm of epistemic ends."
book  publisher  epistemology  philosophy  truth 
november 2018 by tsuomela
Understanding Ignorance | The MIT Press
"An exploration of what we can know about what we don't know: why ignorance is more than simply a lack of knowledge. Ignorance is trending. Politicians boast, “I'm not a scientist.” Angry citizens object to a proposed state motto because it is in Latin, and “This is America, not Mexico or Latin America.” Lack of experience, not expertise, becomes a credential. Fake news and repeated falsehoods are accepted and shape firm belief. Ignorance about American government and history is so alarming that the ideal of an informed citizenry now seems quaint. Conspiracy theories and false knowledge thrive. This may be the Information Age, but we do not seem to be well informed. In this book, philosopher Daniel DeNicola explores ignorance—its abundance, its endurance, and its consequences. DeNicola aims to understand ignorance, which seems at first paradoxical. How can the unknown become known—and still be unknown? But he argues that ignorance is more than a lack or a void, and that it has dynamic and complex interactions with knowledge. Taking a broadly philosophical approach, DeNicola examines many forms of ignorance, using the metaphors of ignorance as place, boundary, limit, and horizon. He treats willful ignorance and describes the culture in which ignorance becomes an ideological stance. He discusses the ethics of ignorance, including the right not to know, considers the supposed virtues of ignorance, and concludes that there are situations in which ignorance is morally good. Ignorance is neither pure nor simple. It is both an accusation and a defense (“You are ignorant!” “Yes, but I didn't know!”). Its practical effects range from the inconsequential to the momentous. It is a scourge, but, DeNicola argues daringly, it may also be a refuge, a value, even an accompaniment to virtue. Hardcover Out of Print ISBN: 9780262036443 264 pp. | 6 in x 9 in August 2017 Paperback $17.95 T | £13.99 ISBN: 9780262536035 264 pp. | 6 in x 9 in September 2018 Share Share "
book  publisher  epistemology  philosophy  truth  ignorance  agnotology 
november 2018 by tsuomela
Data Love - The Seduction and Betrayal of Digital Technologies | Columbia University Press
"Intelligence services, government administrations, businesses, and a growing majority of the population are hooked on the idea that big data can reveal patterns and correlations in everyday life. Initiated by software engineers and carried out through algorithms, the mining of big data has sparked a silent revolution. But algorithmic analysis and data mining are not simply byproducts of media development or the logical consequences of computation. They are the radicalization of the Enlightenment's quest for knowledge and progress. Data Love argues that the "cold civil war" of big data is taking place not among citizens or between the citizen and government but within each of us. Roberto Simanowski elaborates on the changes data love has brought to the human condition while exploring the entanglements of those who—out of stinginess, convenience, ignorance, narcissism, or passion—contribute to the amassing of ever more data about their lives, leading to the statistical evaluation and individual profiling of their selves. Writing from a philosophical standpoint, Simanowski illustrates the social implications of technological development and retrieves the concepts, events, and cultural artifacts of past centuries to help decode the programming of our present."
book  publisher  data-science  data-mining  epistemology 
august 2018 by tsuomela
Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life | RAND
"Over the past two decades, national political and civil discourse in the United States has been characterized by "Truth Decay," defined as a set of four interrelated trends: an increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data; a blurring of the line between opinion and fact; an increase in the relative volume, and resulting influence, of opinion and personal experience over fact; and lowered trust in formerly respected sources of factual information. These trends have many causes, but this report focuses on four: characteristics of human cognitive processing, such as cognitive bias; changes in the information system, including social media and the 24-hour news cycle; competing demands on the education system that diminish time spent on media literacy and critical thinking; and polarization, both political and demographic. The most damaging consequences of Truth Decay include the erosion of civil discourse, political paralysis, alienation and disengagement of individuals from political and civic institutions, and uncertainty over national policy. This report explores the causes and consequences of Truth Decay and how they are interrelated, and examines past eras of U.S. history to identify evidence of Truth Decay's four trends and observe similarities with and differences from the current period. It also outlines a research agenda, a strategy for investigating the causes of Truth Decay and determining what can be done to address its causes and consequences. "
post-truth  polarization  political-science  communication  truth  facts  epistemology  social  epistemic-closure 
january 2018 by tsuomela
Epistemology (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
"Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? As the study of justified belief, epistemology aims to answer questions such as: How we are to understand the concept of justification? What makes justified beliefs justified? Is justification internal or external to one's own mind? Understood more broadly, epistemology is about issues having to do with the creation and dissemination of knowledge in particular areas of inquiry. This article will provide a systematic overview of the problems that the questions above raise and focus in some depth on issues relating to the structure and the limits of knowledge and justification."
philosophy  epistemology  encyclopedia  reference  summary 
may 2016 by tsuomela
Group discussion improves lie detection
"Groups of individuals can sometimes make more accurate judgments than the average individual could make alone. We tested whether this group advantage extends to lie detection, an exceptionally challenging judgment with accuracy rates rarely exceeding chance. In four experiments, we find that groups are consistently more accurate than individuals in distinguishing truths from lies, an effect that comes primarily from an increased ability to correctly identify when a person is lying. These experiments demonstrate that the group advantage in lie detection comes through the process of group discussion, and is not a product of aggregating individual opinions (a “wisdom-of-crowds” effect) or of altering response biases (such as reducing the “truth bias”). Interventions to improve lie detection typically focus on improving individual judgment, a costly and generally ineffective endeavor. Our findings suggest a cheap and simple synergistic approach of enabling group discussion before rendering a judgment."
groups  lying  psychology  philosophy  epistemology  knowledge  collective-intelligence 
september 2015 by tsuomela
The Aesthetic of Play | The MIT Press
"The impulse toward play is very ancient, not only pre-cultural but pre-human; zoologists have identified play behaviors in turtles and in chimpanzees. Games have existed since antiquity; 5,000-year-old board games have been recovered from Egyptian tombs. And yet we still lack a critical language for thinking about play. Game designers are better at answering small questions (“Why is this battle boring?”) than big ones (“What does this game mean?”). In this book, the game designer Brian Upton analyzes the experience of play—how playful activities unfold from moment to moment and how the rules we adopt constrain that unfolding. Drawing on games that range from Monopoly to Dungeons & Dragons to Guitar Hero, Upton develops a framework for understanding play, introducing a set of critical tools that can help us analyze games and game designs and identify ways in which they succeed or fail. Upton also examines the broader epistemological implications of such a framework, exploring the role of play in the construction of meaning and what the existence of play says about the relationship between our thoughts and external reality. He considers the making of meaning in play and in every aspect of human culture, and he draws on findings in pragmatic epistemology, neuroscience, and semiotics to describe how meaning emerges from playful engagement. Upton argues that play can also explain particular aspects of narrative; a play-based interpretive stance, he proposes, can help us understand the structure of books, of music, of theater, of art, and even of the process of critical engagement itself."
book  publisher  play  games  game-studies  philosophy  epistemology 
march 2015 by tsuomela
Epistemic Relativism: A Constructive Critique // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame
"Markus Seidel, Epistemic Relativism: A Constructive Critique, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, 284pp., $105.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781137377883."
book  review  philosophy  science  epistemology  relativism 
october 2014 by tsuomela
SPT v6n2 - Thing Knowledge - Function and Truth
"Elsewhere I have argued for a materialist epistemology that I call "thing knowledge." This is an epistemology where the things we make bear our knowledge of the world, on a par with the words we speak. It is an epistemology opposed to the notion that the things we make are only instrumental to the articulation and justification of knowledge expressed in words or equations. Our things do this, but they do more. They bear knowledge themselves, and frequently enough the words we speak serve instrumentally in the articulation and justification of knowledge borne by things."
epistemology  philosophy  objects  knowledge  embodied  cognition 
august 2014 by tsuomela
Integrity and the Virtues of Reason: Leading a Convincing Life // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame
"Greg Scherkoske, Integrity and the Virtues of Reason: Leading a Convincing Life, Cambridge University Press, 2013, 264pp., $99.00 (hbk), ISBN 9781107000674."
book  review  philosophy  integrity  values  virtue  epistemology  social-epistemology 
april 2014 by tsuomela
Frank Jackson, latter day physicalist | The Philosophers Magazine
"Here is one of the best thought experiments in the whole of the philosophy of mind: “Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. She specialises in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes…. What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a colour television monitor? Will she learn anything or not?” Well, what do you think? Take your time, because there’s a lot at stake: nothing less than the fundamental metaphysical nature of the universe itself. And don’t worry if you’re not sure what to say, because apparently there’s a lot to be said. There are more than a thousand published papers, innumerable conferences, and even several books addressing the question of what Mary did or didn’t know. It’s Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument, and it appeared in 1982 in a paper with the agreeably strange title, “Epiphenomenal Qualia”."
philosophy  physicalism  dualism  epistemology  perception  representation  metaphysics 
december 2012 by tsuomela
U.S. Intellectual History: Against Irony
Epistemological wariness of “totalizing” forms of thought is one of the calling cards of  the ironic detachment so central to postmodernism. Of course, ironic detachment was also one of the signal sensibilities of Cold War liberalism, a liberal variant obsessed with consensus, pluralism, technical expertise, detachment, and irony, a zeitgeist that found its apotheosis in Daniel Bell’s 1960 book, The End of Ideology: On the Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties.
history  historiography  irony  epistemology  postmodernism  politics  intellectual 
july 2012 by tsuomela
A Companion to Relativism // Reviews // Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame
The question we most need addressed is not what epistemic modals mean, but what to do with other people's.
book  review  philosophy  relativism  epistemology  expertise  people  testimony  trust 
april 2012 by tsuomela
The Social Sciences’ ‘Physics Envy’ - NYTimes.com
"This might seem like a worthy aspiration. Many social scientists contend that science has a method, and if you want to be scientific, you should adopt it. The method requires you to devise a theoretical model, deduce a testable hypothesis from the model and then test the hypothesis against the world. If the hypothesis is confirmed, the theoretical model holds
social-science  methodology  philosophy  scientism  epistemology 
april 2012 by tsuomela
Infinite Stupidity | Conversation | Edge
A tiny number of ideas can go a long way, as we've seen. And the Internet makes that more and more likely. What's happening is that we might, in fact, be at a time in our history where we're being domesticated by these great big societal things, such as Facebook and the Internet. We're being domesticated by them, because fewer and fewer and fewer of us have to be innovators to get by. And so, in the cold calculus of evolution by natural selection, at no greater time in history than ever before, copiers are probably doing better than innovators. Because innovation is extraordinarily hard. My worry is that we could be moving in that direction, towards becoming more and more sort of docile copiers.
evolution  learning  innovation  creativity  social-media  technology-effects  evolutionary-psychology  biology  imitation  epistemology  facebook  internet 
january 2012 by tsuomela
Jones - No knowledge but through information
"This article argues for the following: 1. Information is a thing to be handled and controlled
information  knowledge  knowledge-management  pim  pkm  objects  substance  ontology  epistemology  philosophy 
october 2011 by tsuomela
Quilligan's “Failed Metaphysics Behind Private Property” | David Bollier
"Many people don't recognise that the commons is not just a thing – a physical element of nature or a resource like the Internet – but a distinct metaphysics and epistemology that challenges some deeply rooted premises of contemporary politics and policy. James Quilligan probes this territory with a thoughtful piece in the latest issue of Kosmos magazine. In particular, he explores the “social nature of property”and how its individual, atomistic nature in liberal political philosophy is responsible for “its catastrophic impact on the commons.”"
commons  philosophy  economics  epistemology  metaphysics  environment 
september 2011 by tsuomela
UnderstandingSociety: Alternatives to analytical sociology
"To start: I've generally found the strictures of "microfoundations" and "agent-based explanations" as representing ontological constraints on sociological explanations rather than guides for empirical research. The constraints require, essentially, that all our explanations of social processes and causal connections need to be compatible with providing plausible micro-level accounts of how they work."
social-science  philosophy  ontology  epistemology  foundation  emergence  supervenience  analytic  sociology 
july 2011 by tsuomela
UnderstandingSociety: Microfoundationalism
"The concept of microfoundations is relevant to each of these domains. A microfoundation is:

a specification of the ways in which the properties and structure of a higher-level entity are produced by the activities and properties of lower-level entities.

In the case of the social sciences, this amounts to:

a specification of the ways that properties, structural features, and causal powers of a social entity are produced and reproduced by the actions and dispositions of socially situated individuals."
social-science  philosophy  ontology  epistemology  foundation  emergence  supervenience 
july 2011 by tsuomela
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