Philosophical Topics

ISSN: 0276-2080

21 found

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  1.  14
    Political Polarization and Social Media.David Barrett - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (2):85-104.
    A popular claim is that social media is a cause of contemporary high levels of political polarization. In this paper, I consider three of the most common kinds of arguments for the thesis. One type lays out a narrative of causes, tracing the causal steps between logging on to social media and later becoming more polarized. Another type uses computer modeling to show how polarized effects can arise from systems that are analogous to use of social media. The final type (...)
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  2. Testimonial Epistemic Rights in Online Spaces.Kenneth Boyd - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (2):105-126.
    According to many theories of testimony, acts of testimony confer certain epistemic rights upon recipients, e.g., the right for the recipient to complain or otherwise hold the testifier responsible should the content of that testimony turn out to be false, and the right to “pass the epistemic buck”, such that the recipient can redirect relevant challenges they may encounter back to the testifier. While these discussions do not explicitly exclude testimonial acts that occur online, they do not specifically address them, (...)
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  3.  20
    Interactive Self-Deception in Digital Spaces.Eric Funkhouser - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (2):65-84.
    Self-deceptive projects are frequently supported by our social environment, with others influencing both our motives and capacities for self-deception. Digital spaces offer even more opportunities for interactive self-deception. Digital platforms are incentivized to sort us and capture our engagement, and online users also have desires to be sorted and engaged. The execution of self-deception is partially offloaded to algorithms and social networks that filter our evidence, selectively draw our attention to evidence, offer rationalizations, and give us repetitive and emotion-laden feedback. (...)
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  4.  6
    Absurd Stories, Ideologies & Motivated Cognition.Marianna B. Ganapini - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (2):21-39.
    At times, weird stories such as the Pizzagate spread surprisingly quickly and widely. In this paper I analyze the mental attitudes of those who seem to take those absurdities seriously: I argue that those stories are often imagined rather than genuinely believed. Then I make room for the claim that often these imaginings are used to support group ideologies. My main contribution is to explain how that support actually happens by showing that motivated cognition can employ imagination as a seemingly (...)
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  5.  50
    Conspiracy Theories as Serious Play.Neil Levy - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (2):1-19.
    Why do people endorse conspiracy theories? There is no single explanation: different people have different attitudes to the theories they say they believe. In this paper, I argue that for many, conspiracy theories are serious play. They’re attracted to conspiracy theories because these theories are engaging: it’s fun to entertain them (witness the enormous number of conspiracy narratives in film and TV). Just as the person who watches a conspiratorial film suspends disbelief for its duration, so many conspiracy theorists do (...)
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  6.  33
    The Best Paper You’ll Read Today.Aydin Mohseni, Cailin O’Connor & James Owen Weatherall - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (2):127-153.
    Scientific curation, where scientific evidence is selected and shared, is essential to public belief formation about science. Yet common curation practices can distort the body of evidence the public sees. Focusing on science journalism, we employ computational models to investigate how such distortions influence public belief. We consider these effects for agents with and without confirmation bias. We find that standard journalistic practices can lead to significant distortions in public belief; that preexisting errors in public belief can drive further distortions (...)
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  7.  16
    Identity-Defining Beliefs on Social Media.Daniel Williams - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (2):41-64.
    When membership of a community depends on commitment to shared beliefs, the community is a belief-based coalition, and the beliefs are identity-defining beliefs. Belief-based coalitions are pervasive features of human social life and routinely drive motivated cognition and epistemically dysfunctional group dynamics. Despite this, they remain surprisingly undertheorized in social epistemology. This article (i) clarifies the properties of belief-based coalitions and identity-defining beliefs, (ii) explains why they often incentivize and coordinate epistemically dysfunctional forms of communication and cognitive labor, and (iii) (...)
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  8.  32
    Wilfrid Sellars on Science and the Mind.Anke Breunig - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):235-261.
    This paper explores some ideas of Wilfrid Sellars to raise two difficulties for a naturalistic approach to the mind. The first difficulty, which is methodological, is a corollary of Sellars’s distinction between two images of man-in-the-world, the manifest and the scientific image. For Sellars, taking science seriously requires that we think of it as constructing a unified image of man-in-the-world of its own. I argue that it is the rivalry between the manifest and the scientific image which gives rise to (...)
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  9.  19
    Tracking the World Down.María J. Frápolli - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):83-107.
    The background of this paper is what I call “pragmatic inferentialism,” a view that I attribute to Robert Brandom. Here, I develop Brandom’s view and argue that it is a kind of subject naturalism, in Price’s sense, and that the charge of idealism sometimes addressed against it is unwarranted. Regarding, I show that pragmatic inferentialism finds support from evolutionary psychology and developmental psychology. Regarding, I present what I call “level 0 expressivism,” which I take to be the semantic counterpart of (...)
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  10.  51
    Norms, Reasons, and Anthropological Naturalism.Hans-Johann Https://Orcidorg909X Glock - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):9-32.
    This article addresses the two most important areas of potential conflict between inferentialism and naturalism, namely normativity and rationality. Concerning the first, it sides with inferentialism, while at the same time developing a normativist position less vulnerable to naturalistic objections. There is nothing problematic or mysterious about semantic normativity or normativity in general. But one needs to distinguish different types of normativity and recognize that statements of norms can be perfectly truth-apt. Concerning the second area of conflict, my verdict is (...)
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  11. Scientific Representation: An Inferentialist-Expressivist Manifesto.Kareem Khalifa, Jared Millson & Mark Risjord - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):263-291.
    This essay presents a fully inferentialist-expressivist account of scientific representation. In general, inferentialist approaches to scientific representation argue that the capacity of a model to represent a target system depends on inferences from models to target systems. Inferentialism is attractive because it makes the epistemic function of models central to their representational capacity. Prior inferentialist approaches to scientific representation, however, have depended on some representational element, such as denotation or representational force. Brandom’s Making It Explicit provides a model of how (...)
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  12.  22
    The Evolution of Reason Giving and Confirmation Bias.Ladislav Koreň - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):213-234.
    In their own way, inferentialists and interactionists both trace the roots of reflective reasoning to practices and skills for making, assessing, and responding to public performances in communicative practices of giving and asking for reasons. Inferentialists have developed the idea mostly on conceptual grounds. Interactionists ask, in a more empirical spirit, why and how such practices and skills might have evolved. Thus they promise complementary “anthropological” insights of foremost interest to inferentialists. But interactionist theories advance a number of controversial claims (...)
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  13.  25
    Grounds of Semantic Normativity.Diego Marconi - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):161-184.
    There are two prevalent accounts of semantic normativity: the prescriptive account, which can be found in some of Wittgenstein’s remarks, and the regularity account, which may have been Sellars’s view and is nowadays defended by some antinormativists. On the former account, meanings are norms that govern the use of words; on the latter, they are regularities of use which, in themselves, do not engender any prescriptions. I argue that only the prescriptive view can account for certain platitudes about meaning, which (...)
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  14.  31
    Inferentialism Naturalized.Jaroslav Peregrin - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):33-54.
    Brandom’s inferentialism explains meaning in terms of inferential rules. As he insists that “the normative” is not reducible to “the natural,” inferentialism would seem an unlikely ally of naturalism. However, in this paper I suggest that Brandom’s theory of language harbors insights which can promote a naturalistic theory of meaning and language, and that a naturalistic version of Brandom’s inferentialism might have great potential. Also I sketch the lines along which such a theory could be built.
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  15.  20
    Introduction: Inferentialism on Naturalized Grounds.Jaroslav Pergrin & Matej Drobňak - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):1-7.
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  16.  44
    Family Feuds? Relativism, Expressivism, and Disagreements about Disagreement.Huw Price - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):293-344.
    In Expressing Our Attitudes, Mark Schroeder speculates about the relation between expressivism and relativism. Noting that “John MacFarlane has wondered whether relativism is expressivism done right,” he suggests that this may get things back to front: “it is worth taking seriously the idea that expressivism is relativism done right”. In this piece, motivated both by Schroeder’s suggestion and by recent work from Lionel Shapiro, I compare and contrast my version of expressivism with MacFarlane’s version of relativism. I identify some significant (...)
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  17.  14
    Getting Ready to Share Commitments.Antonio Scarafone & John Michael - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):135-159.
    Paul Grice’s theory of meaning has been widely adopted as a starting point for investigating the evolutionary and developmental emergence of linguistic communication. In this picture, reasoning about complexes of intentions is a prerequisite for communicating effectively at the prelinguistic level, as well as for acquiring a natural language. We argue that this broadly ‘Gricean’ picture rests on an equivocation between theories of communication and theories of cognition, and that it leads to paradoxical or implausible claims about human psychology. We (...)
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  18.  15
    On the Natural Ground of Discursive Cognition: Building a Heterodox Explanatory Bridge Between Philosophy and the Cognitive Sciences.Preston Stovall - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):109-134.
    Despite increasing interest in shared intentionality in both philosophy and the sciences over the last three decades, there has been little comparison of philosophical with empirical accounts of the phenomenon. At the same time, both philosophical and scientific investigations into shared intentionality as a ground of our cognition have developed into widespread research programs during this period. This has laid the groundwork for a productive conversation, across the sciences and humanities, about the nature of human cognition qua discursive or rational. (...)
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  19.  18
    From Tools to Rules.Bernhard Weiss - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 50 (1):55-82.
    The paper is interested in likely routes for the evolution of normative practice, which, it is here assumed, is a necessary precursor to the development of language. It argues that each normative practice requires a policing practice, consisting of, at least, moves of commendation, condemnation, and retraction, and it contrasts policing with mere monitoring practice. So the evolution of norms can be seen to be the development of policing from mere monitoring practice. It conjectures that a likely site for such (...)
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  20. The Ignorance Norm and Paradoxical Assertions.Elise Woodard - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 49 (2):321-332.
    Can agents rationally inquire into things that they know? On my view, the answer is yes. Call this view the Compatibility Thesis. One challenge to this thesis is to explain why assertions like “I know that p, but I’m wondering whether p” sound odd, if not Moore-Paradoxical. In response to this challenge, I argue that we can reject one or both premises that give rise to it. First, we can deny that inquiry requires interrogative attitudes. Second, we can deny the (...)
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  21. W. E. B. Du Bois’s Socialism.Elvira Basevich - 2022 - Philosophical Topics 48 (2):23-49.
    W.E.B. Du Bois’s socialism has provoked debate for decades. His democratic theory and critique of political economy supports democratic socialism. In this article, I offer a philosophical reconstruction of the normative foundation of his democratic socialism in three steps. First, I argue that his philosophy of the modern democratic state supports the people’s advance of the principle of free and equal citizenship or civic equality. Next, I present his critique of the modern American welfare state, which asserts the fair value (...)
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