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  1.  40
    The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread.Cailin O'Connor & James Owen Weatherall - 2019 - New Haven, CT, USA: Yale University Press.
    "Why should we care about having true beliefs? And why do demonstrably false beliefs persist and spread despite consequences for the people who hold them? Philosophers of science Cailin O’Connor and James Weatherall argue that social factors, rather than individual psychology, are what’s essential to understanding the spread and persistence of false belief. It might seem that there’s an obvious reason that true beliefs matter: false beliefs will hurt you. But if that’s right, then why is it irrelevant to many (...)
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  2.  8
    The Origins of Unfairness: Social Categories and Cultural Evolution.Cailin O'Connor - 2019 - Oxford University Press.
    In almost every human society some people get more and others get less. Why is inequity the rule in human societies? Philosopher Cailin O'Connor reveals how cultural evolution works on social categories such as race and gender to generate unfairness.
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  3.  77
    In Epistemic Networks, is Less Really More?Sarita Rosenstock, Cailin O'Connor & Justin Bruner - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):234-252.
    We show that previous results from epistemic network models showing the benefits of decreased connectivity in epistemic networks are not robust across changes in parameter values. Our findings motivate discussion about whether and how such models can inform real-world epistemic communities. As we argue, only robust results from epistemic network models should be used to generate advice for the real-world, and, in particular, decreasing connectivity is a robustly poor recommendation.
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  4. The Evolution of Vagueness.Cailin O'Connor - 2013 - Erkenntnis (S4):1-21.
    Vague predicates, those that exhibit borderline cases, pose a persistent problem for philosophers and logicians. Although they are ubiquitous in natural language, when used in a logical context, vague predicates lead to contradiction. This paper will address a question that is intimately related to this problem. Given their inherent imprecision, why do vague predicates arise in the first place? I discuss a variation of the signaling game where the state space is treated as contiguous, i.e., endowed with a metric that (...)
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  5.  32
    The Natural Selection of Conservative Science.Cailin O'Connor - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 76:24-29.
  6.  10
    Games in the Philosophy of Biology.Cailin O'Connor - 2020 - Cambridge University Press.
    This is an Element surveying the most important literature using game theory and evolutionary game theory to shed light on questions in the philosophy of biology. There are two branches of literature that the book focuses on. It begins with a short introduction to game theory and evolutionary game theory. It then turns to working using signaling games to explore questions related to communication, meaning, language, and reference. The second part of the book addresses prosociality - strategic behavior that contributes (...)
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  7. Power, Bargaining, and Collaboration.Justin Bruner & Cailin O'Connor - 2016 - In T. Boyer, C. Mayo-Wilson & M. Weisberg (eds.), Scientific Collaboration and Collective Knowledge.
    Collaboration is increasingly popular across academia. Collaborative work raises certain ethical questions, however. How will the fruits of collaboration be divided? How will the work for the collaborative project be split? In this paper, we consider the following question in particular. Are there ways in which these divisions systematically disadvantage certain groups? -/- We use evolutionary game theoretic models to address this question. First, we discuss results from O'Connor and Bruner (unpublished). In this paper, we show that underrepresented groups in (...)
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  8.  27
    The Cultural Red King Effect.Cailin O'Connor - 2017 - Journal of Mathematical Sociology 41 (3).
    Why do minority groups tend to be discriminated against when it comes to situations of bargaining and resource division? In this paper, I explore an explanation for this disadvantage that appeals solely to the dynamics of social interaction between minority and majority groups---the cultural Red King effect. As I show, in agent-based models of bargaining between groups, the minority group will tend to get less as a direct result of the fact that they frequently interact with majority group members, while (...)
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  9.  45
    Power, Bargaining, and Collaboration.Justin Bruner & Cailin O'Connor - 2017
    Collaboration is increasingly popular across academia. Collaborative work raises certain ethical questions, however. How will the fruits of collaboration be divided? How will the work for the collaborative project be split? In this paper, we consider the following question in particular. Are there ways in which these divisions systematically disadvantage certain groups? We use evolutionary game theoretic models to address this question. First, we discuss results from O'Connor and Bruner showing that underrepresented groups in academia can be disadvantaged in collaboration (...)
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  10.  39
    The Evolution of Intersectional Oppression.Cailin O'Connor, Liam Kofi Bright & Justin Bruner - unknown
    Intersectionality theory explores the special sorts of disadvantage that arise as the result of occupying multiple disadvantaged demographic categories. One significant methodological problem for the quantitative study of intersectionality is the difficulty of acquiring data sets large enough to produce significant results when one is looking for intersectional effects. For this reason, we argue, simulation methods may be particularly useful to this branch of theorizing because they can generate precise predictions and causal dependencies in a relatively cheap way, and can (...)
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  11.  77
    Communication Without the Cooperative Principle: A Signaling Experiment.Hannah Rubin, Justin Bruner, Cailin O'Connor & Simon Huttegger - unknown
    According to Grice's `Cooperative Principle', human communicators are involved in a cooperative endeavor. The speaker attempts to make herself understood and the listener, in turn, assumes that the speaker is trying to maximize the ease and effectiveness of communication. While pragmatists recognize that people do not always behave in such a way, the Cooperative Principle is generally assumed to hold. However, it is often the case that the interests of speakers and listeners diverge, at least to some degree. Communication can (...)
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  12.  7
    On the Emergence of Minority Disadvantage: Testing the Cultural Red King Hypothesis.Aydin Mohseni, Cailin O'Connor & Hannah Rubin - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5599-5621.
    The study of social justice asks: what sorts of social arrangements are equitable ones? But also: how do we derive the inequitable arrangements we often observe in human societies? In particular, in spite of explicitly stated equity norms, categorical inequity tends to be the rule rather than the exception. The cultural Red King hypothesis predicts that differentials in group size may lead to inequitable outcomes for minority groups even in the absence of explicit or implicit bias. We test this prediction (...)
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  13.  6
    Can Confirmation Bias Improve Group Learning?Nathan Gabriel & Cailin O'Connor - unknown
    Confirmation bias has been widely studied for its role in failures of reasoning. Individuals exhibiting confirmation bias fail to engage with information that contradicts their current beliefs, and, as a result, can fail to abandon inaccurate beliefs. But although most investigations of confirmation bias focus on individual learning, human knowledge is typically developed within a social structure. How does the presence of confirmation bias influence learning and the development of consensus within a group? In this paper, we use network models (...)
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  14.  13
    Modeling Minimal Conditions for Inequity.Cailin O'Connor - unknown
    This paper describes a class of idealized models that illuminate minimal conditions for inequity. Some such models will track the actual causal factors that generate real world inequity. Others may not. Whether or not these models do track these real-world factors is irrelevant to the epistemic role they play in showing that minimal commonplace factors are enough to generate inequity. In such cases, it is the fact that the model does not fit the world that makes it a particularly powerful (...)
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  15.  26
    Selective Advantages of Guilt.Sarita Rosenstock & Cailin O'Connor - unknown
    Using results from evolutionary game theory, we analyze the conditions under which guilt can provide individual fitness benefits to actors, and so evolve. In particular, we focus on the individual benefits of guilty apology. We find that guilty apology is more likely to evolve in cases where actors interact repeatedly over long periods of time, where the costs of apology are low or moderate, and where guilt is hard to fake.
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  16.  14
    How Should We Promote Transient Diversity in Science?Jingyi Wu & Cailin O'Connor - manuscript
    Diversity of practice is widely recognized as crucial to scientific progress. If all scientists perform the same tests in their research, they might miss important insights that other tests would yield. If all scientists adhere to the same theories, they might fail to explore other options which, in turn, might be superior. But the mechanisms that lead to this sort of diversity can also generate epistemic harms when scientific communities fail to reach swift consensus on successful theories. In this paper, (...)
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  17.  20
    David Lewis in the Lab: An Experimental Study of Signaling Convention.Justin Bruner, Cailin O'Connor, Hannah Rubin & Simon Huttegger - unknown
    In this paper we use an experimental approach to investigate how linguistic conventions can emerge in a society without explicit agreement. As a starting point we consider the signaling game introduced by Lewis. We find that in experimental settings, small groups can quickly develop conventions of signal meaning in these games. We also investigate versions of the game where the theoretical literature indicates that meaning will be less likely to arise---when there are more than two states for actors to transfer (...)
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  18. Deus Ex Machina: A Cautionary Tale for Naturalists.Cailin O'Connor, Nathan Fulton, Elliott Wagner & P. Kyle Stanford - 2012 - Analyse & Kritik 34 (1):51-62.
    In this paper we critically examine and seek to extend Philip Kitcher’s Ethical Project to weave together a distinctive naturalistic conception of how ethics came to occupy the place it does in our lives and how the existing ethical project should be revised and extended into the future. Although we endorse his insight that ethical progress is better conceived of as the improvement of an existing state than an incremental approach towards a fixed endpoint, we nonetheless go on to argue (...)
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  19.  37
    Modeling How False Beliefs Spread.Cailin O'Connor & James Owen Weatherall - unknown
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  20.  28
    Power by Association.Travis Lacroix & Cailin O'Connor - manuscript
    We use tools from evolutionary game theory to examine how power might influence the cultural evolution of inequitable norms between discernible groups in a population of otherwise identical individuals. Similar extant models always assume that power is homogeneous across a social group. As such, these models fail to capture situations where individuals who are not themselves disempowered nonetheless end up disadvantaged in bargaining scenarios by dint of their social group membership. Thus, we assume that there is heterogeneity in the groups (...)
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  21.  35
    If Evolution Favours Fairness, Why Does Inequality Persist?Cailin O'Connor - 2016 - Forum for European Philosophy Blog.
    Cailin O’Connor on power and the emergence of bargaining norms.
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  22.  14
    Experimental Economics for Philosophers.Hannah Rubin, Cailin O'Connor & Justin Bruner - unknown
    Recently, game theory and evolutionary game theory - mathematical frameworks from economics and biology designed to model and explain interactive behavior - have proved fruitful tools for philosophers in areas such as ethics, philosophy of language, social epistemology, and political philosophy. This methodological osmosis is part of a trend where philosophers have blurred disciplinary lines to import the best epistemic tools available. In this vein, experimental philosophers have drawn on practices from the social sciences, and especially from psychology, to expand (...)
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  23.  7
    Communication Without Common Interest: A Signaling Experiment.Hannah Rubin, Justin P. Bruner, Cailin O'Connor & Simon Huttegger - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 83:101295.
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  24.  25
    Book Review Peter Godfrey-Smith , Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection . Oxford: Oxford University Press (2009), Viii+207 Pp., $55.00 (Cloth). [REVIEW]Cailin O'Connor - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (4):589-593.