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Daniel J. Singer [29]Daniel Jeremy Singer [1]
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Daniel J. Singer
University of Pennsylvania
  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. How to Be an Epistemic Consequentialist.Daniel J. Singer - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272):580-602.
    Epistemic consequentialists think that epistemic norms are about believing the truth and avoiding error. Recently, a number of authors have rejected epistemic consequentialism on the basis that it incorrectly sanctions tradeoffs of epistemic goodness. Here, I argue that epistemic consequentialists should borrow two lessons from ethical consequentialists to respond to these worries. Epistemic consequentialists should construe their view as an account of right belief, which they distinguish from other notions like rational and justified belief. Epistemic consequentialists should also make their (...)
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  3.  66
    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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  4.  59
    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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  5.  62
    Permissible Epistemic Trade-Offs.Daniel J. Singer - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):281-293.
    ABSTRACTRecent rejections of epistemic consequentialism, like those from Firth, Jenkins, Berker, and Greaves, have argued that consequentialism is committed to objectionable trade-offs and suggest...
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  6. What Epistemic Reasons Are For: Against the Belief-Sandwich Distinction.Daniel J. Singer & Sara Aronowitz - forthcoming - In Billy Dunaway & David Plunkett (eds.), Meaning, Decision, and Norms: Themes from the Work of Allan Gibbard.
    The standard view says that epistemic normativity is normativity of belief. If you’re an evidentialist, for example, you’ll think that all epistemic reasons are reasons to believe what your evidence supports. Here we present a line of argument that pushes back against this standard view. If the argument is right, there are epistemic reasons for things other than belief. The argument starts with evidentialist commitments and proceeds by a series of cases, each containing a reason. As the cases progress, the (...)
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  7.  45
    Diversity, Not Randomness, Trumps Ability.Daniel J. Singer - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (1):178-191.
    A number of formal models, including a highly influential model from Hong and Page, purport to show that functionally diverse groups often beat groups of individually high-performing agents in solving problems. Thompson argues that in Hong and Page’s model, that the diverse groups are created by a random process explains their success, not the diversity. Here, I defend the diversity interpretation of the Hong and Page result. The failure of Thompson’s argument shows that to understand the value of functional diversity, (...)
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  8. Mind the Is-Ought Gap.Daniel J. Singer - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy 112 (4):193-210.
    The is-ought gap is Hume’s claim that we can’t get an ‘ought’ from just ‘is’s. Prior (“The Autonomy of Ethics,” 1960) showed that its most straightforward formulation, a staple of introductory philosophy classes, fails. Many authors attempt to resurrect the claim by restricting its domain syntactically or by reformulating it in terms of models of deontic logic. Those attempts prove to be complex, incomplete, or incorrect. I provide a simple reformulation of the is-ought gap that closely fits Hume’s description of (...)
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  9.  96
    Scientific Networks on Data Landscapes: Question Difficulty, Epistemic Success, and Convergence.Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, Steven Fisher, Aaron Bramson, William J. Berger, Christopher Reade, Carissa Flocken & Adam Sales - 2013 - Episteme 10 (4):441-464.
    A scientific community can be modeled as a collection of epistemic agents attempting to answer questions, in part by communicating about their hypotheses and results. We can treat the pathways of scientific communication as a network. When we do, it becomes clear that the interaction between the structure of the network and the nature of the question under investigation affects epistemic desiderata, including accuracy and speed to community consensus. Here we build on previous work, both our own and others’, in (...)
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  10.  39
    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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  11. Disambiguation of Social Polarization Concepts and Measures.Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, Steven Fisher, William Berger, Graham Sack & Carissa Flocken - 2016 - Journal of Mathematical Sociology 40:80-111.
    ABSTRACT This article distinguishes nine senses of polarization and provides formal measures for each one to refine the methodology used to describe polarization in distributions of attitudes. Each distinct concept is explained through a definition, formal measures, examples, and references. We then apply these measures to GSS data regarding political views, opinions on abortion, and religiosity—topics described as revealing social polarization. Previous breakdowns of polarization include domain-specific assumptions and focus on a subset of the distribution’s features. This has conflated multiple, (...)
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  12.  86
    Sleeping Beauty Should Be Imprecise.Daniel Jeremy Singer - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3159-3172.
    The traditional solutions to the Sleeping Beauty problem say that Beauty should have either a sharp 1/3 or sharp 1/2 credence that the coin flip was heads when she wakes. But Beauty’s evidence is incomplete so that it doesn’t warrant a precise credence, I claim. Instead, Beauty ought to have a properly imprecise credence when she wakes. In particular, her representor ought to assign \(R(H\!eads)=[0,1/2]\) . I show, perhaps surprisingly, that this solution can account for the many of the intuitions (...)
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  13.  26
    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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  14.  32
    Germs, Genes, and Memes: Function and Fitness Dynamics on Information Networks.Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, Christopher Reade & Steven Fisher - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (2):219-243.
    Understanding the dynamics of information is crucial to many areas of research, both inside and outside of philosophy. Using computer simulations of three kinds of information, germs, genes, and memes, we show that the mechanism of information transfer often swamps network structure in terms of its effects on both the dynamics and the fitness of the information. This insight has both obvious and subtle implications for a number of questions in philosophy, including questions about the nature of information, whether there (...)
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  15.  17
    What You Believe Travels Differently: Information and Infection Dynamics Across Sub-Networks.Patrick Grim, Christopher Reade, Daniel J. Singer, Stephen Fisher & Stephen Majewicz - 2010 - Connections 30:50-63.
    In order to understand the transmission of a disease across a population we will have to understand not only the dynamics of contact infection but the transfer of health-care beliefs and resulting health-care behaviors across that population. This paper is a first step in that direction, focusing on the contrasting role of linkage or isolation between sub-networks in (a) contact infection and (b) belief transfer. Using both analytical tools and agent-based simulations we show that it is the structure of a (...)
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  16.  40
    Understanding Polarization: Meaning, Measures, and Model Evaluation.Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, William Berger, Graham Sack, Steven Fisher, Carissa Flocken & Bennett Holman - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84:115-159.
    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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  17.  25
    Germs, Genes, and Memes: Functional and Fitness Dynamics on Information Networks.Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, Christopher Reade & Stephen Fisher - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82:219-243.
    It is widely accepted that the way information transfers across networks depends importantly on the structure of the network. Here, we show that the mechanism of information transfer is crucial: in many respects the effect of the specific transfer mechanism swamps network effects. Results are demonstrated in terms of three different types of transfer mechanism: germs, genes, and memes. With an emphasis on the specific case of transfer between sub-networks, we explore both the dynamics of each of these across networks (...)
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  18.  22
    Information Dynamics Across Linked Sub-Networks: Germs, Genes, and Memes.Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, Christopher Reade & Stephen Fisher - 2011 - In Proceedings, AAAI Fall Symposium on Complex Adaptive Systems: Energy, Information and Intelligence. AAAI Press.
    Beyond belief change and meme adoption, both genetics and infection have been spoken of in terms of information transfer. What we examine here, concentrating on the specific case of transfer between sub-networks, are the differences in network dynamics in these cases: the different network dynamics of germs, genes, and memes. Germs and memes, it turns out, exhibit a very different dynamics across networks. For infection, measured in terms of time to total infection, it is network type rather than degree of (...)
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  19.  61
    Polarization and Belief Dynamics in the Black and White Communities: An Agent-Based Network Model From the Data.Patrick Grim, Stephen B. Thomas, Stephen Fisher, Christopher Reade, Daniel J. Singer, Mary A. Garza, Craig S. Fryer & Jamie Chatman - 2012 - In Christoph Adami, David M. Bryson, Charles Offria & Robert T. Pennock (eds.), Artificial Life 13. MIT Press.
    Public health care interventions—regarding vaccination, obesity, and HIV, for example—standardly take the form of information dissemination across a community. But information networks can vary importantly between different ethnic communities, as can levels of trust in information from different sources. We use data from the Greater Pittsburgh Random Household Health Survey to construct models of information networks for White and Black communities--models which reflect the degree of information contact between individuals, with degrees of trust in information from various sources correlated with (...)
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  20.  30
    Philosophical Analysis in Modeling Polarization: Notes From a Work in Progress.Patrick Grim, Aaron Bramson, Daniel J. Singer, Stephen Fisher, Carissa Flocken & William Berger - 2013 - In Paul Youngman & Mirsad Hadzikadik (eds.), Complexity and the Human Experience: Modeling Complexity in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Pan Sanford.
  21.  25
    Robustness Across the Structure of Sub-Networks: The Contrast Between Infection and Information Dynamics.Patrick Grim, Christopher Reade, Daniel J. Singer, Stephen Fisher & Stephen Majewicz - 2010 - In Proceedings, AAAI FAll Symposium on Complex Adaptive Systems: Resilience, Robustness, and Evolvability.
    In this paper we make a simple theoretical point using a practical issue as an example. The simple theoretical point is that robustness is not 'all or nothing': in asking whether a system is robust one has to ask 'robust with respect to what property?' and 'robust over what set of changes in the system?' The practical issue used to illustrate the point is an examination of degrees of linkage between sub-networks and a pointed contrast in robustness and fragility between (...)
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  22.  61
    Representation in Models of Epistemic Democracy.Patrick Grim, Aaron Bramson, Daniel J. Singer, William J. Berger, Jiin Jung & Scott E. Page - 2020 - Episteme 17 (4):498-518.
    Epistemic justifications for democracy have been offered in terms of two different aspects of decision-making: voting and deliberation, or ‘votes’ and ‘talk.’ The Condorcet Jury Theorem is appealed to as a justification in terms votes, and the Hong-Page “Diversity Trumps Ability” result is appealed to as a justification in terms of deliberation. Both of these, however, are most plausibly construed as models of direct democracy, with full and direct participation across the population. In this paper, we explore how these results (...)
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  23.  39
    Votes and Talks: Sorrows and Success in Representational Hierarchy.Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, William J. Berger, Jiin Jung & Scott Page - manuscript
    Epistemic justifications for democracy have been offered in terms of two different aspects of decision-making: voting and deliberation, or 'votes' and 'talk.' The Condorcet Jury Theorem is appealed to as a justification in terms of votes, and the Hong-Page "Diversity Trumps Ability" result is appealed to as a justification in terms of deliberation. Both of these, however, are most plausibly construed as models of direct democracy, with full and direct participation across the population. In this paper, we explore how these (...)
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  24.  49
    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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  25. 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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  26.  51
    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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  27. 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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  28.  3
    Doxastic Normativity.Daniel J. Singer - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    There is a puzzle about Hume's is-ought gap involving an epistemic `ought'. From the premise `Snow is white,' we can infer `Sophia's belief that snow is white is correct.' `Snow is white' is paradigmatically non-normative, and that Sophia's belief is correct, a claim about what belief she ought to have, seems to be normative. The argument seems valid, so the is-ought gap is supposed to block this kind of inference. The puzzle is over whether we should give up on the (...)
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  29.  34
    Demoting Promoting Objections to Epistemic Consequentialism.Daniel J. Singer - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):268-280.
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  30. To the Best of Our Knowledge.Daniel J. Singer - 2021 - Philosophical Review 130 (2):323-326.
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