Echo Chambers and Moral Progress

Episteme:1-15 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

In this paper, I argue that echo chambers pose a problem for moral progress because of their threat to moral reasoning. I argue for two theses about the epistemology of moral progress: (1) the practical utility thesis: moral reasoning plays an important role in improving moral judgments, and (2) the conflictive social reasoning thesis: the kind of moral reasoning that is important for moral progress involves social reasoning with disputants. Without some conflict, human beings will naturally reason in a biased and otherwise poor manner. Thus, good reasoning must be social so that reasoners who disagree can keep each other in check. These two theses explain why echo chambers are a problem for moral progress. I argue that echo chambers isolate individuals from reasoning with those they disagree with. This is because echo chambers act as a mechanism for discrediting those outside the chamber. If this is true, then the members of an echo chamber will only reason with those who agree with them. The result is that echo chamber members won't reason according to the conflictive social reasoning thesis. Reasoning will only reinforce their existing echoed beliefs rather than improve them.

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Tyler Wark
University of Calgary

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References found in this work

Echo chambers and epistemic bubbles.C. Thi Nguyen - 2020 - Episteme 17 (2):141-161.
Moral Progress.Philip Kitcher, Jan-Christoph Heilinger, Rahel Jaeggi & Susan Neiman - 2021 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Jan-Christoph Heilinger.
Logic: The Theory of Inquiry.John Dewey - 1938 - Philosophy 14 (55):370-371.

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