From Belief Polarization to Echo Chambers: A Rationalizing Account

Episteme:1-21 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Belief polarization is widely seen to threaten havoc on our shared political lives. It is often assumed that BP is the product of epistemically irrational behaviors at the individual level. After distinguishing between BP as it occurs in intra-group and inter-group settings, this paper argues that neither process necessarily reflects individual epistemic irrationality. It is true that these processes can work in tandem to produce so-called “echo chambers.” But while echo chambers are often problematic from the point of view of collective rationality, it doesn't follow that individuals are doing anything wrong, epistemically speaking, in seeking them out. In non-ideal socio-epistemic contexts, echo chamber construction might provide one's best defense against systematic misinformation and deception.

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Endre Begby
Simon Fraser University

References found in this work

Echo chambers and epistemic bubbles.C. Thi Nguyen - 2020 - Episteme 17 (2):141-161.
Epistemology of disagreement: The good news.David Christensen - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (2):187-217.
Reflection and disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
Higher‐Order Evidence and the Limits of Defeat.Maria Lasonen-Aarnio - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):314-345.
Higher Order Evidence.David Christensen - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):185-215.

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