Epistemic Closure's Clash with Technology in New Markets

Journal of Business Ethics 108 (2):181-199 (2012)
Many people, such as Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, Irving Fisher, and William Sharpe, assume that free markets full of rational people automatically lead to ethical actions and outcomes. After all, at its equilibrium point, a perfectly competitive free market maximizes utility, respects autonomy, and fulfills justice’s dictates. Unfortunately, in some technology markets, there are a significant number of people who have undergone epistemic closure. Epistemic closure entails that all reliable evidence that would challenge deeply held beliefs is dismissed as corrupted, whereas all supporting evidence, no matter how unreliable, is accepted as incontrovertible. Those who have the condition act irrationally within that domain. As a result, business decisions become much more difficult than they would be in a rational market. In this article, epistemic closure’s ethical issues are developed. First, although they are acting irrationally within the closure’s domain, those with epistemic closure can still be held accountable for their actions. Second, to deal ethically with epistemic closure and its consequences, then it is vital to know what it is and its root causes, as well as to have a practical principle that can assist in making pragmatic decisions. Because some new technologies face epistemic closure, then focusing on a particular representative case of it will help to illustrate the issue’s ethical dimensions.
Keywords Epistemic closure  Technology  Free markets  Practical moral principle  Rational
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-011-1069-5
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Hans Mohr (1999). Technology Assessment in Theory and Practice. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 4 (4):233-235.

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