About this Event
1135 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02120https://cssh.northeastern.edu/philosophy/events/
Title: “Resisting injustice, boosting epistemic agency. When do epistemic bubbles have a good side?”
Abstract: Social epistemology and political philosophy have shown serious concern about epistemic bubbles and echo chambers, widely regarded as harmful for both their members and the public sphere as a whole.
We aim to question this generalization. Under proper conditions, online epistemic bubbles can be useful for unfairly disadvantaged communities to resist epistemic injustices, constituting a form of epistemic activism (Medina, 2021). The crucial condition would be that their distinctive selective exposure (Nguyen, 2020) remains under the agent’s control. This means that although temporarily shielded from voices —even relevant ones— beyond the community, members are still aware that these voices do exist and retain enough agency to withdraw from the bubble when needed. This way, the bubble could be beneficial for the community itself, “by augmenting and protecting their epistemic group agency” (Medina, 2021, 185), but also for the wider society, as it allows for silenced voices and discredited knowledge to flow through society.
We aim to offer a descriptive account to detail how certain affordances on the Internet can help augment a disadvantaged group’s epistemic agency. On the other hand, our proposal is also normative: we suggest conditions to identify a positive impact of certain epistemic bubbles. If these conditions are not met, the epistemic bubble under question will likely do more harm than good.
Speaker Bio: Daniel Barbarrusa (email@example.com) is a visiting PhD student from University of Seville (Spain). For his dissertation, “The Internet, echo chambers and conspiranoia: digital challenges through the lens of social epistemology,” he tries to unriddle how the new ways to socialize on the Internet may lead us to form distinct beliefs and theories.