Episteme:1-16 (forthcoming)

Kenneth Boyd
University of Toronto, St. George Campus (PhD)
There have been many discussions recently from philosophers, cognitive scientists, and psychologists about group polarization, particularly with regards to political issues and scientific issues that have become markers of social identity, such as anthropogenic climate change and vaccine hesitancy. Online and social media environments in particular have received a lot of attention in these discussions, both because of people’s increasing reliance on such environments for receiving and exchanging information, and because such environments often allow individuals to selectively interact with those who are like-minded. My goal here is to argue that the group epistemologist can facilitate understanding the kinds of factors that drive group polarization in a way that has been overlooked by the existing research. Specifically, I argue that polarization can occur in part because of the ways that members of a group treat the group itself (as opposed to an individual member within that group) as a source of information, and in doing so makes their own position, as well as that of the group, more extreme. I refer to this as a structural factor in driving polarization, as it is a factor that is produced by the general nature of the relationship between a group and its members.
Keywords groups  group epistemology  polarization  social epistemology
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DOI 10.1017/epi.2020.47
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References found in this work BETA

The Law of Group Polarization.Cass R. Sunstein - 2002 - Journal of Political Philosophy 10 (2):175–195.
Group Assertion.Jennifer Lackey - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (1):21-42.

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Twisted Thinking: Technology, Values and Critical Thinking.Lavinia Marin - 2022 - Prometheus. Critical Studies in Innovation 38 (1):124-140.

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