Synthese 198 (1):1-55 (2018)

Josefine L. Pallavicini
University of Copenhagen
Bjørn Hallsson
University of Copenhagen
Klemens Kappel
University of Copenhagen
In this paper we present the results of a simulation study of credence developments in groups of communicating Bayesian agents, as they update their beliefs about a given proposition p. Based on the empirical literature, one would assume that these groups of rational agents would converge on a view over time, or at least that they would not polarize. This paper presents and discusses surprising evidence that this is not true. Our simulation study shows that these groups of Bayesian agents show group polarization behavior under a broad range of circumstances. This is, we think, an unexpected result, that raises deeper questions about whether the kind of polarization in question is irrational. If one accepts Bayesian agency as the hallmark of epistemic rationality, then one should infer that the polarization we find is also rational. On the other hand, if we are inclined to think that there is something epistemically irrational about group polarization, then something must be off in the model employed in our simulation study. We discuss several possible interfering factors, including how epistemic trust is defined in the model. Ultimately, we propose that the notion of Bayesian agency is missing something in general, namely the ability to respond to higher-order evidence.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-01978-w
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References found in this work BETA

Higher Order Evidence.David Christensen - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):185-215.
The Law of Group Polarization.Cass R. Sunstein - 2002 - Journal of Political Philosophy 10 (2):175–195.
Disagreement, Dogmatism, and Belief Polarization.Thomas Kelly - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):611-633.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Fake News and Epistemic Vice: Combating a Uniquely Noxious Market.Megan Fritts & Frank Cabrera - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-22.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

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