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  1. Is Epistocracy Irrational?Adam F. Gibbons - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (2).
    Proponents of epistocracy worry that high levels of voter ignorance can harm democracies. To combat such ignorance, they recommend allocating comparatively more political power to more politically knowledgeable citizens. In response, some recent critics of epistocracy contend that epistocratic institutions risk causing even more harm, since much evidence from political psychology indicates that more politically knowledgeable citizens are typically more biased, less open-minded, and more prone to motivated reasoning about political matters than their less knowledgeable counterparts. If so, perhaps epistocratic (...)
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  2. Bullshit in Politics Pays.Adam F. Gibbons - forthcoming - Episteme:1-21.
    Politics is full of people who don’t care about the facts. Still, while not caring about the facts, they are often concerned to present themselves as caring about them. Politics, in other words, is full of bullshitters. But why? In this paper I develop an incentives-based analysis of bullshit in politics, arguing that it is often a rational response to the incentives facing different groups of agents. In a slogan: bullshit in politics pays, sometimes literally. After first outlining an account (...)
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  3. Political Disagreement and Minimal Epistocracy.Adam F. Gibbons - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (2).
    Despite their many virtues, democracies suffer from well-known problems with high levels of voter ignorance. Such ignorance, one might think, leads democracies to occasionally produce bad outcomes. Proponents of epistocracy claim that allocating comparatively greater amounts of political power to citizens who possess more politically relevant knowledge may help us to mitigate the bad effects of voter ignorance. An important challenge to epistocracy rejects the claim that we can reliably identify a subset of citizens who possess more politically relevant knowledge (...)
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  4. Rational Conceptual Conflict and the Implementation Problem.Adam F. Gibbons - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Conceptual engineers endeavor to improve our concepts. But their endeavors face serious practical difficulties. One such difficulty – rational conceptual conflict - concerns the degree to which agents are incentivized to impede the efforts of conceptual engineers, especially in many of the contexts within which conceptual engineering is viewed as a worthwhile pursuit. Under such conditions, the already difficult task of conceptual engineering becomes even more difficult. Consequently, if they want to increase their chances of success, conceptual engineers should pay (...)
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  5. Bad Language Makes Good Politics.Adam F. Gibbons - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Politics abounds with bad language: lying and bullshitting, grandstanding and virtue signaling, code words and dogwhistles, and more. But why is there so much bad language in politics? And what, if anything, can we do about it? In this paper I show how these two questions are connected. Politics is full of bad language because existing social and political institutions are structured in such a way that the production of bad language becomes rational. In principle, by modifying these institutions we (...)
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  6. On Epistocracy's Epistemic Problem: Reply to Méndez.Adam F. Gibbons - 2022 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 11 (8):1-7.
    In a recent paper, María Pía Méndez (2022) offers an epistemic critique of epistocracy according to which the sort of politically well-informed but homogenous groups of citizens that would be empowered under epistocracy would lack reliable access to information about the preferences of less informed citizens. Specifically, they would lack access to such citizens’ preferences regarding the form that policies ought to take—that is, how these policies ought to be implemented. Arguing that this so-called Information Gap Problem militates against epistocracy, (...)
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  7. Political ignorance is both rational and radical.Adam F. Gibbons - 2023 - Synthese 202 (3):1-22.
    It is commonly held that political ignorance is rational, a response to the high costs and low benefits of acquiring political information. But many recent critics of the claim that political ignorance is rational instead urge that it is a simple consequence of agents not concerning themselves with the acquisition of political information whatsoever. According to such critics, political ignorance is inadvertent radical ignorance rather than a rational response to the incentives faced by agents in democracies. And since political ignorance (...)
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