Tag: Epistemic Institutional Design

  • Warning Signs: Beliefs that Signal Loyalty or Ability

    My last post has generated some controversy on Facebook, where the audience is a bit more diverse, faith-wise, than those who read the blog. I thought it might be useful to continue pressing on the critique of instrumental beliefs with an instructive list of warning signs that your opinions are primarily instrumental, from Robin Hanson.…

  • The Principle of Insufficient Reason and the Hiddenness of God

    One of the most common philosophical conversations on the internet is the argument between atheists and agnostics as to which is the more reasonable position. This comes up so often that I thought I’d record some of my reflections on it. In particular, I am mindful that my position is somewhat at odds with my…

  • Deference Reduces Group Intelligence

    NPR has a story about group intelligence: Anita Woolley, an assistant professor of organizational behavior and theory, has been studying what it means to say a group is “intelligent.” So she created teams of two to five people, drawn from 700 volunteers, and asked the teams to solve various kinds of problems. “We had some…

  • Against Deference: Epistemic Privilege Considered

    Following up on my claim in the last post that “honor produces error,” in my view, the problem is epistemic privilege, i.e. deference. By deference, I mean the epistemic privileges that some people receive or earn through demonstrating their erudition or looking like they know what they’re talking about. When you think of deference, you…

  • Cowen’s Epistemic Portfolio Theory and Flaubert’s Maxim

    A portfolio theory is a way to minimize risk by diversifying one’s commitments or investments, using hopefully countercyclical strategies so that some part of your portfolio is always growing. Tyler Cowen suggests an amusing epistemic portfolio theory: That is, most people have an internal psychological need to fulfill a “quota of dogmatism.”  If you’re very dogmatic…

  • Epistemic Institutional Design: The Abstract

    My focus in this project is to look at various institutions that try to track the truth about moral value, of which the Roman Catholic Church is only one. The Catholic Church is certainly wrong about consensual adult homosexuality, but what’s interesting is that this error is the result of a method of moral inquiry…