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Bennett Holman
Yonsei University
  1. Rational Social and Political Polarization.Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Bennett Holman, Jiin Jung, Karen Kovaka, Anika Ranginani & William J. Berger - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2243-2267.
    Public discussions of political and social issues are often characterized by deep and persistent polarization. In social psychology, it’s standard to treat belief polarization as the product of epistemic irrationality. In contrast, we argue that the persistent disagreement that grounds political and social polarization can be produced by epistemically rational agents, when those agents have limited cognitive resources. Using an agent-based model of group deliberation, we show that groups of deliberating agents using coherence-based strategies for managing their limited resources tend (...)
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  2.  51
    Experimentation by Industrial Selection.Bennett Holman & Justin Bruner - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1008-1019.
    Industry is a major source of funding for scientific research. There is also a growing concern for how it corrupts researchers faced with conflicts of interest. As such, the debate has focused on whether researchers have maintained their integrity. In this article we draw on both the history of medicine and formal modeling to argue that given methodological diversity and a merit-based system, industry funding can bias a community without corrupting any particular individual. We close by considering a policy solution (...)
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  3.  35
    The New Demarcation Problem.Bennett Holman & Torsten Wilholt - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 91:211-220.
  4. Diversity, Ability, and Expertise in Epistemic Communities.Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, Bennett Holman, Sean McGeehan & William J. Berger - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (1):98-123.
    The Hong and Page ‘diversity trumps ability’ result has been used to argue for the more general claim that a diverse set of agents is epistemically superior to a comparable group of experts. Here we extend Hong and Page’s model to landscapes of different degrees of randomness and demonstrate the sensitivity of the ‘diversity trumps ability’ result. This analysis offers a more nuanced picture of how diversity, ability, and expertise may relate. Although models of this sort can indeed be suggestive (...)
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  5.  18
    Philosophers on Drugs.Bennett Holman - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4363-4390.
    There are some philosophical questions that can be answered without attention to the social context in which evidence is produced and distributed.ing away from social context is an excellent way to ignore messy details and lay bare the underlying structure of the limits of inference. Idealization is entirely appropriate when one is essentially asking: In the best of all possible worlds, what am I entitled to infer? Yet, philosophers’ concerns often go beyond this domain. As an example I examine the (...)
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  6.  31
    The Problem of Intransigently Biased Agents.Bennett Holman & Justin P. Bruner - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):956-968.
    In recent years the social nature of scientific inquiry has generated considerable interest. We examine the effect of an epistemically impure agent on a community of honest truth seekers. Extending a formal model of network epistemology pioneered by Zollman, we conclude that an intransigently biased agent prevents the community from ever converging to the truth. We explore two solutions to this problem, including a novel procedure for endogenous network formation in which agents choose whom to trust. We contend that our (...)
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  7.  66
    Understanding Polarization: Meanings, Measures, and Model Evaluation.Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, William J. Berger, Graham Sack, Steven Fisher, Carissa Flocken & Bennett Holman - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):115-159.
    Polarization is a topic of intense interest among social scientists, but there is significant disagreement regarding the character of the phenomenon and little understanding of underlying mechanics. A first problem, we argue, is that polarization appears in the literature as not one concept but many. In the first part of the article, we distinguish nine phenomena that may be considered polarization, with suggestions of appropriate measures for each. In the second part of the article, we apply this analysis to evaluate (...)
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  8.  41
    The Promise and Perils of Industry‐Funded Science.Bennett Holman & Kevin C. Elliott - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11).
  9.  58
    Diversity and Democracy: Agent-Based Modeling in Political Philosophy.Bennett Holman, William Berger, Daniel J. Singer, Patrick Grim & Aaron Bramson - 2018 - Historical Social Research 43:259-284.
    Agent-based models have played a prominent role in recent debates about the merits of democracy. In particular, the formal model of Lu Hong and Scott Page and the associated “diversity trumps ability” result has typically been seen to support the epistemic virtues of democracy over epistocracy (i.e., governance by experts). In this paper we first identify the modeling choices embodied in the original formal model and then critique the application of the Hong-Page results to philosophical debates on the relative merits (...)
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  10.  68
    Understanding Polarization: Meaning, Measures, and Model Evaluation.Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, William J. Berger, Graham Sack, Steven Fisher, Carissa Flocken & Bennett Holman - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (1):115-159.
    Polarization is a topic of intense interest among social scientists, but there is significant disagreement regarding the character of the phenomenon and little understanding of underlying mechanics. A first problem, we argue, is that polarization appears in the literature as not one concept but many. In the first part of the article, we distinguish nine phenomena that may be considered polarization, with suggestions of appropriate measures for each. In the second part of the article, we apply this analysis to evaluate (...)
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  11.  24
    Sex Drugs and Corporate Ventriloquism: How to Evaluate Science Policies Intended to Manage Industry-Funded Bias.Bennett Holman & Sally Geislar - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (5):869-881.
    “Female sexual dysfunction” is the type of contested disease that has sparked concern about the role of the pharmaceutical industry in medical science. Many policies have been proposed to manage industry influence without carefully evaluating whether the proposed policies would be successful. We consider a proposal for incorporating citizen stakeholders into scientific research and show, via a detailed case study of the pharmaceutical regulation of flibanserin, that such programs can be co-opted. In closing, we use Holman’s asymmetric arms race framework (...)
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  12.  46
    In Defense of Meta-Analysis.Bennett Holman - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3189-3211.
    Arguments that medical decision making should rely on a variety of evidence often begin from the claim that meta-analysis has been shown to be problematic. In this paper, I first examine Stegenga’s argument that meta-analysis requires multiple decisions and thus fails to provide an objective ground for medical decision making. Next, I examine three arguments from social epistemologists that contend that meta-analyses are systematically biased in ways not appreciated by standard epistemology. In most cases I show that critiques of meta-analysis (...)
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  13.  6
    An Ethical Obligation to Ignore the Unreliable.Bennett Holman - 2019 - Synthese 198 (S23):5825-5848.
    Stephen John has recently suggested that the ethics of communication yields important insights as to how values should be incorporated into science. In particular, he examines cases of “wishful speaking” in which a scientific actor endorses unreliable conclusions in order to obtain the consequences of the listener treating the results as credible. He concludes that what is wrong in these cases is that the speaker surreptitiously relies on values not accepted by the hearer, violating what he terms “the value-apt ideal”. (...)
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  14. A Multidisciplinary Understanding of Polarization.Jiin Jung, Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, William J. Berger, Bennett Holman & Karen Kovaka - 2019 - American Psychologist 74:301-314.
    This article aims to describe the last 10 years of the collaborative scientific endeavors on polarization in particular and collective problem-solving in general by our multidisciplinary research team. We describe the team’s disciplinary composition—social psychology, political science, social philosophy/epistemology, and complex systems science— highlighting the shared and unique skill sets of our group members and how each discipline contributes to studying polarization and collective problem-solving. With an eye to the literature on team dynamics, we describe team logistics and processes that (...)
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  15.  56
    Self-Correction in Science: Meta-Analysis, Bias and Social Structure.Justin P. Bruner & Bennett Holman - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 78:93-97.
  16.  28
    Why Most Sugar Pills Are Not Placebos.Bennett Holman - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):1330-1343.
    The standard philosophical definition of placebos offered by Grünbaum is incompatible with Cartwright’s conception of randomized clinical trials. I offer a modified account of placebos that respects this role and clarifies why many current medical trials fail to warrant the conclusions they are typically seen as yielding. I then consider recent changes to guidelines for reporting medical trials and show that pessimism over parsing out the cause of “unblinding” is premature. Specifically, using a trial of antidepressants, I show how more (...)
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  17.  12
    Teaching and Learning Guide For: The Promise and Perils of Industry‐Funded Research.Bennett Holman & Kevin C. Elliott - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12549.
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  18.  27
    Correction To: Rational Social and Political Polarization.Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Bennett Holman, Jiin Jung, Karen Kovaka, Anika Ranginani & William J. Berger - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2269-2269.
    In the original publication of the article, the Acknowledgement section was inadvertently not included. The Acknowledgement is given in this Correction.
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  19.  11
    Philosophical Considerations of Political Polarization.William J. Berger, Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Jiin Jung & Bennett Holman - 2022 - In David Bordonaba Plou, Víctor Fernández Castro & José Ramón Torices (eds.), The Political Turn in Analytic Philosophy: Reflections on Social Injustice and Oppression. De Gruyter. pp. 279-298.
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  20.  6
    What FiveThirtyEight Can Teach Us About Solving the Replication Crisis.Bennett Holman - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-22.
    Numerous philosophers of science have argued that the incentive structure of science is a major contributor to the replication crisis. In this paper I review FiveThirtyEight’s election forecasting model and show that it confronts similar problems in political polling and successfully mitigates them, not by changing the incentives, but by weighting a pollster’s effect on the model by their past reliability. I argue that a similar weighting procedure holds a promising approach to addressing the replication crisis in science.
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  21.  77
    Wisdom of Crowds, Wisdom of the Few: Expertise Versus Diversity Across Epistemic Landscapes.Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, Bennett Holman, Sean McGeehan & William J. Berger - manuscript
    In a series of formal studies and less formal applications, Hong and Page offer a ‘diversity trumps ability’ result on the basis of a computational experiment accompanied by a mathematical theorem as explanatory background (Hong & Page 2004, 2009; Page 2007, 2011). “[W]e find that a random collection of agents drawn from a large set of limited-ability agents typically outperforms a collection of the very best agents from that same set” (2004, p. 16386). The result has been extremely influential as (...)
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  22. Don’T Forget Forgetting: The Social Epistemic Importance of How We Forget.Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Bennett Holman, Karen Kovaka, Jiin Jung & William Berger - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5373-5394.
    We motivate a picture of social epistemology that sees forgetting as subject to epistemic evaluation. Using computer simulations of a simple agent-based model, we show that how agents forget can have as large an impact on group epistemic outcomes as how they share information. But, how we forget, unlike how we form beliefs, isn’t typically taken to be the sort of thing that can be epistemically rational or justified. We consider what we take to be the most promising argument for (...)
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  23.  55
    Don’T Forget Forgetting: The Social Epistemic Importance of How We Forget.Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Bennett Holman, Karen Kovaka, Jiin Jung & William J. Berger - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5373-5394.
    We motivate a picture of social epistemology that sees forgetting as subject to epistemic evaluation. Using computer simulations of a simple agent-based model, we show that how agents forget can have as large an impact on group epistemic outcomes as how they share information. But, how we forget, unlike how we form beliefs, isn’t typically taken to be the sort of thing that can be epistemically rational or justified. We consider what we take to be the most promising argument for (...)
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  24.  56
    Restrictive Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes.Bennett Holman - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (1):61-70.
    It has been argued that naturalizing the mind will result in the elimination of the ontology of folk psychology (e.g. beliefs and desires). This paper draws from a wide range of empirical literature, including from developmental and cross-cultural psychology, in building an argument for a position dubbed restrictive materialism . The position holds that while the ontology of folk psychology is overextended, there is a restricted domain in which the application of the folk ontology remains secure. From the evidence of (...)
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  25.  27
    Medical Knowledge in a Social World: Introduction to the Special Issue.Bennett Holman, Sven Bernecker & Luciana Garbayo - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4351-4361.
    Philosophy of medicine has traditionally examined two issues: the scientific ontology for medicine and the epistemic significance of the types of evidence used in medical research. In answering each question, philosophers have typically brought to bear tools from traditional analytic philosophy. In contrast, this volume explores medical knowledge from the perspective offered by social epistemology.While many of the same issues are addressed, the approach to these issues generates both fresh questions and new insights into old debates. In addition, the broader (...)
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  26.  10
    Clinical Trials and the Origins of Pharmaceutical Fraud: Parke, Davis & Company, Virtue Epistemology, and the History of the Fundamental Antagonism.Joseph M. Gabriel & Bennett Holman - 2020 - History of Science 58 (4):533-558.
    This paper describes one possible origin point for fraudulent behavior within the American pharmaceutical industry. We argue that during the late nineteenth century therapeutic reformers sought to promote both laboratory science and increasingly systematized forms of clinical experiment as a new basis for therapeutic knowledge. This process was intertwined with a transformation in the ethical framework in which medical science took place, one in which monopoly status was replaced by clinical utility as the primary arbiter of pharmaceutical legitimacy. This new (...)
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