Justified Belief in a Digital Age: On the Epistemic Implications of Secret Internet Technologies

Episteme 10 (2):117 - 134 (2013)
Authors
Isaac Record
Michigan State University
Boaz Miller
Zefat Academic College
Abstract
People increasingly form beliefs based on information gained from automatically filtered Internet ‎sources such as search engines. However, the workings of such sources are often opaque, preventing ‎subjects from knowing whether the information provided is biased or incomplete. Users’ reliance on ‎Internet technologies whose modes of operation are concealed from them raises serious concerns about ‎the justificatory status of the beliefs they end up forming. Yet it is unclear how to address these concerns ‎within standard theories of knowledge and justification. To shed light on the problem, we introduce a ‎novel conceptual framework that clarifies the relations between justified belief, epistemic responsibility, ‎action, and the technological resources available to a subject. We argue that justified belief is subject to ‎certain epistemic responsibilities that accompany the subject’s particular decision-taking circumstances, ‎and that one typical responsibility is to ascertain, so far as one can, whether the information upon which ‎the judgment will rest is biased or incomplete. What this responsibility comprises is partly determined by ‎the inquiry-enabling technologies available to the subject. We argue that a subject’s beliefs that are ‎formed based on Internet-filtered information are less justified than they would be if she either knew how ‎filtering worked or relied on additional sources, and that the subject may have the epistemic ‎responsibility to take measures to enhance the justificatory status of such beliefs.‎.
Keywords Knowledge‎  Technology‎  Epistemic Justification‎  Epistemic Responsibility‎  New Media  Filtering‎
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DOI 10.1017/epi.2013.11
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References found in this work BETA

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Citations of this work BETA

Where Are Virtues?Joshua August Skorburg - 2018 - Philosophical Studies:1-19.
Should Have Known.Sanford C. Goldberg - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):2863-2894.
Science, Values, and Pragmatic Encroachment on Knowledge.Boaz Miller - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (2):253-270.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

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