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Summary Political epistemology lies at the intersection of political philosophy and epistemology. Put broadly, political epistemologists investigate the ways in which epistemological issues are at the center of our political lives. For example, they explore how claims of knowledge, truth, and expertise impact political decisions and forms of legitimate authority. Research in this domain ranges from asking questions about whether (and to what extent) legitimate authority hinges on epistemic evaluation of the process or outcome of political decisions to questions about epistemic virtues and vices of individuals in their role as political agents. Political epistemologists ask questions such as: which forms of government can leverage the collective wisdom of the public and to what extent does ignorance, propaganda, or misinformation undermine the legitimacy of collective decisions? What role should disagreement play in our political lives and how does disagreement impact society (i.e. does it lead to polarization or can it be productively leveraged to reveal blind spots based on different perspectives)? In what ways are socially and politically marginalized groups in a position of epistemic privilege vis-à-vis social structures? While the term ‘political epistemology’ is fairly new, scholars have been interested in topics at the intersection of political philosophy and epistemology at least since Plato. Until recently, however, the literature in both political philosophy and epistemology proceeded largely in their own siloes, without explicit reference to -- or common framing of -- the questions. This newer reframing of the subfield of political epistemology explicitly draws on the insights from both areas of philosophy (as well as cognate areas like political science and social psychology). As a result, the past few years have witnessed an outpouring of new research that draws important and tighter connections between epistemology (especially social epistemology) and political philosophy. For example, new work has been published on propaganda, fake news, belief polarization, political disagreement, conspiracy theories, the epistemic merits of democracy, voter ignorance, irrationality in politics, distrust, and the epistemic harms of echo chambers. Political epistemology is now a flourishing area of philosophy.
Key works Plato 1991 and Aristotle 1998 were not friends of democracy for largely epistemic reasons: they thought ordinary citizens are too uninformed to govern themselves well. Mill 2008 was more optimistic about citizens in liberal democracies; but he, too, worries about citizen incompetence and thus proposed that more knowledgeable citizens should have extra votes. Somin 2010 agrees with Plato (and others) that voters may be ignorant, but he claims that voter ignorance is rational because the cost to be adequately informed is too high for most people. Dewey 1927 reject’s Plato’s “rule by experts” in favor of a pragmatist view of public deliberation, which many scholars regard as a precursor to modern “deliberative democracy” (discussed below). As a pragmatist, however, Dewey set aside the search for unchanging and timeless moral truths. Anderson 2006 provides an early articulation of an “epistemic” conception of democracy. This seminal article continues to inform work on epistemic democracy, such as Estlund 2008 attempt to give the notion of truth a central role in democracy -- but without risking the elitism of Plato and, to a lesser extent, Mill. In contrast to the epistemic democrats, Rawls 1993 famously takes the stance of “epistemic abstinence,” rejecting the relevance of truth for justifying certain principles of justice. Gaus 1996 raises a number of criticisms against Rawls and attempts to defend political liberalism partly on epistemic terms. Lynch 2012 provides lively defense of reason, giving reasons, and pursuing rational debate against passion, prejudice, manipulation, coercion, and skepticism about the role of reason in judgment. Talisse 2009 gives a concise defense of democracy by appealing to “folk epistemology”. The main claim is that only in a democracy can an individual practice proper epistemic agency. Peter 2008 analyzes the requirements for democratic legitimacy, breaking down aggregative, deliberative, and Rawlsian approaches. This book defends a view called “pure epistemic proceduralism”. Landemore 2012 is a landmark work in the study of collective intelligence and democratic theory. Landemore says that democracies are not just fairer than non-democratic alternatives, they are also “smarter” because they produce better outcomes. Brennan 2016 is an attack on democracy and defense of epistocracy. Brennan argues that voter incompetence has dire consequences, so we should consider replacing universal suffrage with “the rule of the knowledgeable.”
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  1. Are Knowledgeable Voters Better Voters?Michael Hannon - manuscript
    It is widely believed that democracies require knowledgeable citizens to function well. But the most politically knowledgeable individuals also tend to be the most partisan, and the strength of partisan identity tends to corrupt political thinking. This creates a conundrum. On the one hand, an informed citizenry is allegedly necessary for a democracy to flourish. On the other hand, the most knowledgeable and passionate voters are also the most likely to think in corrupted, biased ways. What to do? This paper (...)
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  2. Experts, Public Policy and the Question of Trust.Maria Baghramian & Michel Croce - forthcoming - In Michael Hannon & Jeroen De Ridder (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology. London, UK: Routledge.
    This chapter discusses the topics of trust and expertise from the perspective of political epistemology. In particular, it addresses four main questions: (§1) How should we characterise experts and their expertise? (§2) How can non-experts recognize a reliable expert? (§3) What does it take for non-experts to trust experts? (§4) What problems impede trust in experts?
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  3. The Choice of Efficiencies and the Necessity of Politics.Michael Bennett - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy:1-20.
    Efficiency requires legislative political institutions. There are many ways efficiency can be promoted, and so an ongoing legislative institution is necessary to resolve this choice in a politically sustainable and economically flexible way. This poses serious problems for classical liberal proposals to constitutionally protect markets from government intervention, as seen in the work of Ilya Somin, Guido Pincione & Fernando Tesón and others. The argument for the political nature of efficiency is set out in terms of both Pareto optimality and (...)
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  4. The (Virtue) Epistemology of Political Ignorance.Cameron Boult - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    One typical aim of responsibilist virtue epistemology is to employ the notion of intellectual virtue in pursuit of an ameliorative epistemology. This paper focuses on “political inquiry” as a case study for examining the ameliorative value of intellectual virtue. My main claim is that the case of political inquiry threatens to expose responsibilist virtue epistemology in a general way as focusing too narrowly on the role of individual intellectual character traits in attempting to improve our epistemic practices.
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  5. Disagreement, Epistemic Paralysis, and the Legitimacy of Technocracy.Étienne Brown & Zoe Phillips Williams - forthcoming - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society:1-23.
    Jeffrey Friedman convincingly argues that technocrats may often lack the knowledge required to enact public policies that will effectively promote their consequentialist goals. Friedman’s argument is strong enough to produce technocratic paralysis, in many cases, but “epistemic gambles” may present a way out of this problem. His discussion of exitocracy also raises the question of how to square his internal form of technocratic critique with the question of democratic legitimacy.
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  6. The Philosophy of Group Polarization: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Psychology.J. Adam Carter & Fernando Broncano-Berrocal - forthcoming - Routledge.
    Group polarization—roughly, the tendency of groups to incline towards more extreme positions than initially held by their individual members— has been rigorously studied by social psychol- ogists, though in a way that has overlooked important philosophical questions about this phenomenon which remain unexplored. Two such salient questions are metaphysical and epistemological, respectively. From a metaphysical point of view, can group polarization, understood as an epistemic feature of a group, be reduced to epistemic features of its individual members? Relatedly, from an (...)
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  7. A Science of Concord: The Politics of Commercial Knowledge in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain.Jon Cooper - forthcoming - Intellectual History Review.
    This article recovers mid-century proposals for sciences of concord and contextualizes them as part of a broader politics of commercial knowledge in eighteenth-century Britain. It begins by showing how merchants gained authority as formulators of commercial policy during the Commerce Treaty debates of 1713–1714. This authority held fast during the Walpolean oligarchy, but collapsed by the 1740s, when lobbying and patronage were increasingly maligned as corrupt by a ferment of popular republicanism. The article then explores how the Anglican cleric Josiah (...)
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  8. Political Disagreement: Epistemic or Civic Peers?Elizabeth Edenberg - forthcoming - In Michael Hannon & Jeroen De Ridder (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology.
    This chapter brings together debates in political philosophy and epistemology over what we should do when we disagree. While it might be tempting to think that we can apply one debate to the other, there are significant differences that may threaten this project. The specification of who qualifies as a civic or epistemic peer are not coextensive, utilizing different idealizations in denoting peerhood. In addition, the scope of disagreements that are relevant vary according to whether the methodology chosen falls within (...)
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  9. The Problem with Disagreement on Social Media: Moral Not Epistemic.Elizabeth Edenberg - forthcoming - In Elizabeth Edenberg & Michael Hannon (eds.), Political Epistemology. Oxford, UK:
    Intractable political disagreements threaten to fracture the common ground upon which we can build a political community. The deepening divisions in society are partly fueled by the ways social media has shaped political engagement. Social media allows us to sort ourselves into increasingly likeminded groups, consume information from different sources, and end up in polarized and insular echo chambers. To solve this, many argue for various ways of cultivating more responsible epistemic agency. This chapter argues that this epistemic lens does (...)
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  10. Political Epistemology.Elizabeth Edenberg & Michael Hannon (eds.) - forthcoming - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    As current events around the world have illustrated, epistemological issues are at the center of our political lives. It has become increasingly difficult to discern legitimate sources of evidence, misinformation spreads faster than ever, and the role of truth in politics has allegedly decayed in recent years. It is therefore no coincidence that political discourse is currently saturated with epistemic notions like ‘post-truth,’ ‘fake news,’ ‘truth decay,’ ‘echo chambers,’ and ‘alternative facts.’ This book brings together leading philosophers to explore ways (...)
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  11. Identifying Upward: Political Epistemology in an Early Chinese Political Theory.Chris Fraser - forthcoming - In Jeroen de Ridder & Michael Hannon (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology.
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  12. Fake News and Epistemic Vice: Combating a Uniquely Noxious Market.Megan Fritts & Frank Cabrera - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    The topic of fake news has received increased attention from philosophers since the term became a favorite of politicians (Habgood-Coote 2016; Dentith 2016). Notably missing from the conversation, however, is a discussion of fake news and conspiracy theory media as a market. This paper will take as its starting point the account of noxious markets put forward by Debra Satz (2010), and will argue that there is a pro tanto moral reason to restrict the market for fake news. Specifically, we (...)
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  13. Is Epistocracy Irrational?Adam F. Gibbons - forthcoming - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
    Proponents of epistocracy worry that high levels of voter ignorance can harm democracies. To combat such ignorance, they recommend allocating comparatively more political power to more politically knowledgeable citizens. In response, some recent critics of epistocracy contend that epistocratic institutions risk causing even more harm, since much evidence from political psychology indicates that more politically knowledgeable citizens are typically more biased, less open-minded, and more prone to motivated reasoning about political matters than their less knowledgeable counterparts. If so, perhaps epistocratic (...)
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  14. Facing Epistemic Authorities: Where Democratic Ideals and Critical Thinking Mislead Cognition.Thomas Grundmann - forthcoming - In Sven Bernecker, Amy Floweree & Thomas Grundmann (eds.), The Epistemology of Fake News. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Disrespect for the truth, the rise of conspiracy thinking, and a pervasive distrust in experts are widespread features of the post-truth condition in current politics and public opinion. Among the many good explanations of these phenomena there is one that is only rarely discussed: that something is wrong with our deeply entrenched intellectual standards of (i) using our own critical thinking without any restriction and (ii) respecting the judgment of every rational agent as epistemically relevant. In this paper, I will (...)
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  15. Fake News: The Case for a Purely Consumer-Oriented Explication.Thomas Grundmann - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Our current understanding of ‘fake news’ is not in good shape. On the one hand, this category seems to be urgently needed for an adequate understanding of the epistemology in the age of the internet. On the other hand, the term has an unstable ordinary meaning and the prevalent accounts which all relate fake news to epistemically bad attitudes of the producer lack theoretical unity, sufficient extensional adequacy, and epistemic fruitfulness. I will therefore suggest an alternative account of fake news (...)
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  16. Fake News, Conceptual Engineering, and Linguistic Resistance: Reply to Pepp, Michaelson, and Sterken, and Brown.Joshua Habgood-Coote - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In Habgood-Coote (2019 “Stop Talking about Fake News!” Inquiry: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62(9-10): 1033-1065) I argued that we should abandon ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’, on the grounds that these terms do not have stable public meanings, are unnecessary, and function as vehicles for propaganda. Jessica Pepp, Eliot Michaelson, and Rachel Sterken (2019 “Why we should keep talking about fake news” Inquiry: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy) and Étienne Brown (2019 “’Fake News’ and Conceptual Ethics”, Journal of Ethics and (...)
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  17. Disagreement or Badmouthing? The Role of Expressive Discourse in Politics.Michael Hannon - forthcoming - In Elizabeth Edenberg & Michael Hannon (eds.), Political Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    A striking feature of political discourse is how prone we are to disagree. Political opponents will even give different answers to factual questions, which suggests that opposing parties cannot agree on facts any more than they can on values. This impression is widespread and supported by survey data. I will argue, however, that the extent and depth of political disagreement is largely overstated. Many political disagreements are merely illusory. This claim has several important upshots. I will explore the implications of (...)
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  18. Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology.Michael Hannon & Jeroen De Ridder (eds.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
    This handbook provides an overview of key ideas, questions, and puzzles in political epistemology. It is divided into seven sections: (1) Politics and Truth: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives; (2) Political Disagreement and Polarization; (3) Fake News, Propaganda, Misinformation; (4) Ignorance and Irrationality in Politics; (5) Epistemic Virtues and Vices in Politics; (6) Democracy and Epistemology; (7) Trust, Expertise, and Doubt.
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  19. The Point of Political Belief.Michael Hannon & Jeroen de Ridder - forthcoming - In Michael Hannon & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology.
    An intuitive and widely accepted view is that (a) beliefs aim at truth, (b) many citizens have stable and meaningful political beliefs, and (c) citizens choose to support political candidates or parties on the basis of their political beliefs. We argue that all three claims are false. First, we argue that political beliefs often differ from ordinary world-modelling beliefs because they do not aim at truth. Second, we draw on empirical evidence from political science and psychology to argue that most (...)
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  20. A Guide to Political Epistemology.Michael Hannon & Elizabeth Edenberg - forthcoming - In Jennifer Lackey & Aidan McGlynn (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Social Epistemology.
    Political epistemology is a newly flourishing area of philosophy, but there is no comprehensive overview to this burgeoning field. This chapter maps out the terrain of political epistemology, highlights some of the key questions and topics of this field, draws connections across seemingly disparate areas of work, and briefly situates this field within its historical and contemporary contexts.
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  21. Speaking of Fake News: Definitions and Dimensions.Romy Jaster & David Lanius - forthcoming - In Sven Bernecker, Amy Flowerree & Thomas Grundmann (eds.), The Epistemology of Fake News. Oxford University Press.
    This paper shows why defining „fake news“ is worthwhile and what a suitable definition of “fake news” might look like. We begin by introducing our definition of “fake news” (§2) and employ it to set fake news apart from related phenomena that are often conflated with it (§3). We then extract seven potential dimensions of the concept of fake news from the literature (§4) and compare the most representative definitions that have been proposed so far along those dimensions (§5). In (...)
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  22. Epistemic Corruption and Political Institutions.Ian James Kidd - forthcoming - In Michael Hannon & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), The Routledge Handbook to Political Epistemology. pp. 357-358.
    Institutions play an indispensable role in our political and epistemic lives. This Chapter explores sympathetically the claim that political institutions can be bearers of epistemic vices. I start by describing one form of collectivism - the claim that the vices of institutions do not reduce to the vices of their members. I then describe the phenomenon of epistemic corruption and the various processes that can corrupt the epistemic ethoi of political institutions. The discussion focuses on some recent work by Miranda (...)
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  23. Epistocracy and Public Interests.Finlay Malcolm - forthcoming - Res Publica.
    Epistocratic systems of government have received renewed attention, and considerable opposition, in recent political philosophy. Although they vary significantly in form, epistocracies generally reject universal suffrage. But can they maintain the advantages of universal suffrage despite rejecting it? This paper develops an argument for a significant instrumental advantage of universal suffrage: that governments must take into account the interests of all of those enfranchised in their policy decisions or else risk losing power. This is called ‘the Interests Argument’. One problem (...)
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  24. Asymmetrical Rationality: Are Only Other People Stupid?Robin McKenna - forthcoming - In Michael Hannon & Jeroen De Ridder (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology. Routledge.
    It is commonly observed that we live in an increasingly polarised world. Strikingly, we are polarised not only about political issues, but also about scientific issues that have political implications, such as climate change. This raises two questions. First, why are we so polarised over these issues? Second, does this mean our views about these issues are all equally ir/rational? In this chapter I explore both questions. Specifically, I draw on the literature on ideologically motivated reasoning to develop an answer (...)
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  25. Persuasion and Intellectual Autonomy.Robin McKenna - forthcoming - In Kirk Lougheed & Jonathan Matheson (eds.), Epistemic Autonomy. Routledge.
    In her paper “Democracy, Public Policy, and Lay Assessments of Scientific Testimony” Elizabeth Anderson (2011) identifies a tension between the requirements of responsible public policy making and democratic legitimacy. The tension, put briefly, is that responsible public policy making should be based on the best available scientific research, but for it to be democratically legitimate there must also be broad public acceptance of whatever policies are put in place. In this chapter I discuss this tension, with a strong focus on (...)
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  26. The Seductions of Clarity.C. Thi Nguyen - forthcoming - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement.
    The feeling of clarity can be dangerously seductive. It is the feeling associated with understanding things. And we use that feeling, in the rough-and-tumble of daily life, as a signal that we have investigated a matter sufficiently. The sense of clarity functions as a thought-terminating heuristic. In that case, our use of clarity creates significant cognitive vulnerability, which hostile forces can try to exploit. If an epistemic manipulator can imbue a belief system with an exaggerated sense of clarity, then they (...)
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  27. Why We Should Keep Talking About Fake News.Jessica Pepp, Eliot Michaelson & Rachel Sterken - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In response to Habgood-Coote (2019) and a growing number of scholars who argue that academics and journalists should stop talking about fake news and abandon the term, we argue that the reasons which have been offered for eschewing the term 'fake news' are not sufficient to justify such abandonment. Prima facie, then, we take ourselves and others to be justified in continuing to talk about fake news.
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  28. 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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  29. Han Feizi’s Genealogical Arguments.Lee Wilson - forthcoming - In Eirik Lang Harris & Henrique Schneider (eds.), Adventures in Chinese Realism: Classic Philosophy Applied to Contemporary Issues. Albany, NY, USA: SUNY Press.
    Han Feizi’s criticisms of Confucian and Mohist political recommendations are often thought to involve materialist or historicist arguments, independently of their epistemological features. Drawing largely on Amia Srinivasan’s recent taxonomy of genealogical arguments, this paper proposes a genealogical reading of passages in “The Five Vermin [五蠹 wudu]” and “Eminence in Learning [顯學 xianxue].” This reveals Han Feizi’s arguments to be more comprehensively appreciated as problematizing Confucian and Mohist political judgments as arising from undermining contingencies, rendering them irrelevant, if not detrimental, (...)
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  30. The Skeptic and the Climate Change Skeptic.Alex Worsnip - forthcoming - In Michael Hannon & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology. Routledge.
    Outside the philosophy classroom, global skeptics – skeptics about all (purported) knowledge of the external world – are rare. But there are people who describe themselves as “skeptics” about various more specific domains, including self-professed “skeptics” about the reality of anthropogenic climate change. There is little to no philosophical literature that juxtaposes the climate change skeptic with the external world skeptic. While many “traditional” epistemologists assume that the external world skeptic poses a serious philosophical challenge in a way that the (...)
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  31. Epistemic Oppression, Resistance, and Resurgence.Nora Berenstain, Kristie Dotson, Julieta Paredes, Elena Ruíz & Noenoe K. Silva - 2021 - Contemporary Political Theory:1-32.
    Epistemologies have power. They have the power not only to transform worlds, but to create them. And the worlds that they create can be better or worse. For many people, the worlds they create are predictably and reliably deadly. Epistemologies can turn sacred land into ‘resources’ to be bought, sold, exploited, and exhausted. They can turn people into ‘labor’ in much the same way. They can not only disappear acts of violence but render them unnamable and unrecognizable within their conceptual (...)
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  32. Political Disagreement and Minimal Epistocracy.Adam F. Gibbons - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (2).
    Despite their many virtues, democracies suffer from well-known problems with high levels of voter ignorance. Such ignorance, one might think, leads democracies to occasionally produce bad outcomes. Proponents of epistocracy claim that allocating comparatively greater amounts of political power to citizens who possess more politically relevant knowledge may help us to mitigate the bad effects of voter ignorance. An important challenge to epistocracy rejects the claim that we can reliably identify a subset of citizens who possess more politically relevant knowledge (...)
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  33. Democratic Legitimacy and the Competence Obligation.Finlay Malcolm - 2021 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 8 (1):109-130.
    What obligations are there on voters? This paper argues that voters should make their electoral decision competently, and does so by developing on a recent proposal for democratic legitimacy. It then explores three problems arising from this ‘competency obligation’. First, how should voters be competent? I propose three conditions required for voter competence. Second, how competent should voters be? I argue that the competency required tracks the significance of the consequences of the vote. Third, if the electorate are unlikely to (...)
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  34. Pluralism and Deliberation.Matteo Bianchin - 2020 - In Volker Kaul & Ingrid Salvatore (eds.), What is Pluralism? London: Routledge. pp. 31-47.
    In this chapter, I consider the claim for pluralism commonly advanced in political philosophy as a claim concerning the standards, methods, and norms for forming belief and judgment about certain kinds of facts rather than the nature of facts themselves. After distinguishing between descriptive and normative epistemic pluralism, I contend that in this context, pluralism needs to rest on grounds that are stronger than fallibilism yet weaker than relativism in order to enjoy a distinct standing. The idea of reasonable pluralism (...)
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  35. Empathetic Understanding and Deliberative Democracy.Michael Hannon - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3):591-611.
    Epistemic democracy is standardly characterized in terms of “aiming at truth”. This presupposes a veritistic conception of epistemic value, according to which truth is the fundamental epistemic goal. I will raise an objection to the standard (veritistic) account of epistemic democracy, focusing specifically on deliberative democracy. I then propose a version of deliberative democracy that is grounded in non-veritistic epistemic goals. In particular, I argue that deliberation is valuable because it facilitates empathetic understanding. I claim that empathetic understanding is an (...)
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  36. The Epistemic Basic Structure.Faik Kurtulmus - 2020 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 37 (5):818-835.
    The epistemic basic structure of a society consists of those institutions that have the greatest impact on individuals’ opportunity to obtain knowledge on questions they have an interest in as citizens, individuals, and public officials. It plays a central role in the production and dissemination of knowledge and in ensuring that people have the capability to assimilate this knowledge. It includes institutions of science and education, the media, search engines, libraries, museums, think tanks, and various government agencies. This article identifies (...)
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  37. Cognitive Islands and Runaway Echo Chambers: Problems for Epistemic Dependence on Experts.C. Thi Nguyen - 2020 - Synthese 197 (7):2803-2821.
    I propose to study one problem for epistemic dependence on experts: how to locate experts on what I will call cognitive islands. Cognitive islands are those domains for knowledge in which expertise is required to evaluate other experts. They exist under two conditions: first, that there is no test for expertise available to the inexpert; and second, that the domain is not linked to another domain with such a test. Cognitive islands are the places where we have the fewest resources (...)
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  38. Declaration in Douglass's My Bondage & My Freedom.Philip Yaure - 2020 - American Political Thought 9 (4):513-541.
    In this paper, I develop an account of Frederick Douglass’s use of declaration as an emancipatory mode of political action. An act of declaration compels an audience to acknowledge the declarer as possessing a type of normative standing (e.g. personhood or citizenship). Douglass, through acts of declaration like his Fifth of July speech and fight with the ‘slavebreaker’ Covey, compels American audiences to acknowledge him as a fellow citizen by forcefully enacting a commitment to resist tyranny and oppression. The distinctive (...)
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  39. The Wrongs of Racist Beliefs.Rima Basu - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2497-2515.
    We care not only about how people treat us, but also what they believe of us. If I believe that you’re a bad tipper given your race, I’ve wronged you. But, what if you are a bad tipper? It is commonly argued that the way racist beliefs wrong is that the racist believer either misrepresents reality, organizes facts in a misleading way that distorts the truth, or engages in fallacious reasoning. In this paper, I present a case that challenges this (...)
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  40. "Fake News" and Conceptual Ethics.Etienne Brown - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (2).
    In a recent contribution to conceptual ethics, Joshua Habgood-Coote argues that philosophers should refrain from using the term “fake news,” which is commonly employed in public discussions focusing on the epistemic health of democracies. In this short discussion note, I take issue with this claim, discussing each of the three arguments advanced by Coote to support the conclusion that we should abandon this concept. First, I contend that although “fake news” is a contested concept, there is significant agreement among contemporary (...)
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  41. Vices of the Mind: From the Intellectual to the Political.Quassim Cassam - 2019 - Oxford University Press.
    Quassim Cassam introduces the idea of epistemic vices, character traits that get in the way of knowledge, such as closed-mindedness, intellectual arrogance, wishful thinking, and prejudice. Using examples from politics to illustrate the vices at work, he considers whether we are responsible for such failings, and what we can do about them.
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  42. Stop Talking About Fake News!Josh Habgood-Coote - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (9-10):1033-1065.
    Since 2016, there has been an explosion of academic work and journalism that fixes its subject matter using the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’. In this paper, I argue that this terminology is not up to scratch, and that academics and journalists ought to completely stop using the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’. I set out three arguments for abandonment. First, that ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ do not have stable public meanings, entailing that they are either nonsense, context-sensitive, or contested. (...)
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  43. What's New About Fake News?Jessica Pepp, Eliot Michaelson & Rachel Sterken - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (2).
    The term "fake news" ascended rapidly to prominence in 2016 and has become a fixture in academic and public discussions, as well as in political mud-slinging. In the flurry of discussion, the term has been applied so broadly as to threaten to render it meaningless. In an effort to rescue our ability to discuss—and combat—the underlying phenomenon that triggered the present use of the term, some philosophers have tried to characterize it more precisely. A common theme in this nascent philosophical (...)
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  44. Blogging Climate Change: A Case Study.Erangu Purath Mohankumar Sajeev, Kian Mintz-Woo, Matthias Damert, Lukas Brunner & Jessica Eise - 2019 - In W. Leal Filho, B. Lackner & H. McGhie (eds.), Addressing the Challenges in Communicating Climate Change Across Various Audiences. Springer. pp. 129-142.
    Public perception of the magnitude of challenges associated with climate change is still lower than that of the majority of scientists. The societal relevance of climate change has raised the need for a more direct communication between scientists and the public. However, peer-reviewed scientific articles are not well-suited to engaging a wider audience. This begets a need to explore other avenues for communicating climate change. Social media is a vibrant source for information exchange among the masses. Blogs in particular are (...)
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  45. Pragmatist Media Ethics and the Challenges of Fake News.Scott R. Stroud - 2019 - Journal of Media Ethics 34 (4):178-192.
    ABSTRACTIncreasing attention is being directed at the impact of fake news on democratic societies across the globe. Scholars in a range of fields are attempting to determine who is behind fake news...
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  46. Is There Such a Thing as ‘White Ignorance’ in British Education?Zara Bain - 2018 - Ethics and Education 13 (1):4-21.
    I argue that political philosopher Charles W. Mills’ twin concepts of ‘the epistemology of ignorance’ and ‘white ignorance’ are useful tools for thinking through racial injustice in the British education system. While anti-racist work in British education has a long history, racism persists in British primary, secondary and tertiary education. For Mills, the production and reproduction of racism relies crucially on cognitive and epistemological processes that produce ignorance, and which promote various ways of ignoring the histories and legacies of European (...)
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  47. Propaganda, Misinformation, and the Epistemic Value of Democracy.Étienne Brown - 2018 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 30 (3-4):194-218.
    If citizens are to make enlightened collective decisions, they need to rely on true factual beliefs, but misinformation impairs their ability to do so. Although some cases of misinformation are deliberate and amount to propaganda, cases of inadvertent misinformation are just as problematic in affecting the beliefs and behavior of democratic citizens. A review of empirical evidence suggests that this is a serious problem that cannot entirely be corrected by means of deliberation.
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  48. The Democratic Duty to Educate Oneself.Steinar Bøyum - 2018 - Etikk I Praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics 2:129-141.
    I argue that democratic citizens have a duty to educate themselves politically. My argument proceeds in two stages. First, I establish a case for the moral importance of individual competence for voting, but also maintain that the substantial content of the required competence must remain open. I do this by way of an assessment of Jason Brennan's provocative defense of epistocracy. I try to show that there is no notion of political competence that can meet with reasonable agreement among citizens (...)
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  49. On the Way to Decolonization in a Settler Colony: Re-Introducing Black Feminist Identity Politics.Kristie Dotson - 2018 - AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples 14 (3):190-199.
    In this paper, I explain Black feminist identity politics as a practice that is ‘on the way’ to settler decolonization in a US context for the fact that it makes demands that we attend to our “originating” stories and, in doing so, 1) generate potential for difficult coalitions for decolonization in settler colonial USA and 2) promoting a range of refusals (Simpson 2014) that aid in resisting the completion of settler colonialism in North America, which is still an uncompleted project. (...)
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  50. The Limitations of the Open Mind.Jeremy Fantl - 2018 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    When should you engage with difficult arguments against your cherished controversial beliefs? The primary conclusion of this book is that your obligations to engage with counterarguments are more limited than is often thought. In some standard situations, you shouldn't engage with difficult counterarguments and, if you do, you shouldn't engage with them open-mindedly. This conclusion runs counter to aspects of the Millian political tradition and political liberalism, as well as what people working in informal logic tend to say about argumentation. (...)
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