Epistemically Pernicious Groups and the Groupstrapping Problem

Social Epistemology 33 (1):61-73 (2018)

Authors
Kenneth Boyd
University of Southern Denmark
Abstract
Recently, there has been growing concern that increased partisanship in news sources, as well as new ways in which people acquire information, has led to a proliferation of epistemic bubbles and echo chambers: in the former, one tends to acquire information from a limited range of sources, ones that generally support the kinds of beliefs that one already has, while the latter function in the same way, but possess the additional characteristic that certain beliefs are actively reinforced. Here I argue, first, that we should conceive of epistemic bubbles and echo chambers as types of epistemically pernicious groups, and second, that while analyses of such groups have typically focused on relationships between individual members, at least part of what such groups epistemically pernicious pertains to the way that members rely on the groups themselves as sources of information. I argue that member reliance on groups results in groups being attributed a degree of credibility that outruns their warrant, a process I call groupstrapping. I argue that by recognizing the groupstrapping as an illicit method of forming and updating beliefs we can make progress on some of the open questions concerning epistemically pernicious groups.
Keywords groups  epistemic bubbles  echo chambers  group testimony
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Reprint years 2019
DOI 10.1080/02691728.2018.1551436
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References found in this work BETA

Peer Disagreement and Higher Order Evidence.Thomas Kelly - 2010 - In Alvin I. Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press. pp. 183--217.
What Is Justified Group Belief.Jennifer Lackey - 2016 - Philosophical Review Recent Issues 125 (3):341-396.
What Are Groups?Katherine Ritchie - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (2):257-272.
Groups with Minds of Their Own.Philip Pettit - 2003 - In Alvin I. Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press.
Group Testimony.Deborah Tollefsen - 2007 - Social Epistemology 21 (3):299 – 311.

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Citations of this work BETA

Developing a Model of Groupstrapping: A Response to Baumgaertner and Nguyen.Kenneth Boyd - 2019 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 8 (8):32-39.

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