In Duncan Pritchard, Jesper Kallestrup, Orestis Palermos & Adam Carter (eds.), Extended Knowledge. Oxford University Press. pp. 239-256 (2018)

Authors
Mark Alfano
Macquarie University
Abstract
We argue that the interaction of biased media coverage and widespread employment of the recognition heuristic can produce epistemic injustices. First, we explain the recognition heuristic as studied by Gerd Gigerenzer and colleagues, highlighting how some of its components are largely external to, and outside the control of, the cognitive agent. We then connect the recognition heuristic with recent work on the hypotheses of embedded, extended, and scaffolded cognition, arguing that the recognition heuristic is best understood as an instance of scaffolded cognition. In section three, we consider the double-edged sword of cognitive scaffolding. On the one hand, scaffolds can reduce the internal processing demands on cognitive agents while increasing their access to information. On the other hand, the use of scaffolding leaves cognitive agents increasingly vulnerable to forming false beliefs or failing to form beliefs at all about particular topics. With respect to the recognition heuristic, agents rely on third parties (such as the media) to report not just what’s true but also what’s important or valuable. This makes cognitive agents relying on these third parties vulnerable to two erroneous influences: 1) because they don’t recognize something, it isn’t important or valuable, and 2) because they do recognize something, it is important or valuable. Call the latter the Kardashian Inference and the former the Darfur Inference. In section four, we use Fricker’s (2007) concept of epistemic injustice to characterize the nature and harm of these false inferences, with special emphasis on the Darfur Inference. In section five, we use data-mining and an empirical study to show how Gigerenzer’s population estimation task is liable to produce Darfur Inferences. We conclude with some speculative remarks on more important Darfur Inferences, and how to avoid them by scaffolding better. One primary way to accomplish this it to shift the burden of embodying the virtue of epistemic justice from the hearer or consumer of media to the media themselves.
Keywords Epistemic Injustice  Heuristics and Biases  Extended cognition  Social Epistemology
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on Amazon.com
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Virtue Epistemology.John Turri, Mark Alfano & John Greco - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:1-51.
Technological Seduction and Self-Radicalization.Mark Alfano, Joseph Adam Carter & Marc Cheong - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association (3):298-322.
Reasoning with Heuristics.Brett Karlan - 2020 - Ratio 34 (2):100-108.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Knowing How and Epistemic Injustice.Katherine Hawley - 2011 - In John Bengson & Marc A. Moffett (eds.), Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action. Oxford University Press. pp. 283-99.
A Critique of Hermeneutical Injustice.Laura Beeby - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (3pt3):479-486.
Two Concepts of Epistemic Injustice.David Coady - 2010 - Episteme 7 (2):101-113.
Epistemic Injustice and Religion.Ian James Kidd - 2017 - In Ian James Kidd, José Medina & Gaile Pohlhaus (eds.), The Routledge Handbook to Epistemic Injustice. New York: Routledge. pp. 386-396.
Extended Cognition and Epistemic Luck.J. Adam Carter - 2013 - Synthese 190 (18):4201-4214.
Is Less Knowledge Better Than More?Alvin I. Goldman - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (5):751-752.
Epistemic Situationism: An Extended Prolepsis.Mark Alfano - 2017 - In Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather (eds.), Epistemic Situationism. Oxford University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2016-02-06

Total views
605 ( #11,234 of 2,448,174 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
51 ( #12,793 of 2,448,174 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes