•  422
    Vagueness Intuitions and the Mobility of Cognitive Sortals
    Minds and Machines 22 (3): 213-234. 2012.
    One feature of vague predicates is that, as far as appearances go, they lack sharp application boundaries. I argue that we would not be able to locate boundaries even if vague predicates had sharp boundaries. I do so by developing an idealized cognitive model of a categorization faculty which has mobile and dynamic sortals (`classes', `concepts' or `categories') and formally prove that the degree of precision with which boundaries of such sortals can be located is inversely constrained by their…Read more
  •  53
    I approach the study of echo chambers from the perspective of veritistic social epistemology. A trichotomous belief model is developed featuring a mechanism by which agents will have a tendency to form agreement in the community. The model is implemented as an agent-based model in NetLogo and then used to investigate a social practice called Impartiality, which is a plausible means for resisting or dismantling echo chambers. The implementation exposes additional factors that need close considera…Read more
  •  45
    Opinion strength influences the spatial dynamics of opinion formation
    with Stephen Krone and Rebecca T. Tyson
    Journal of Mathematical Sociology 40 (4): 207-218. 2016.
    Opinions are rarely binary; they can be held with different degrees of conviction, and this expanded attitude spectrum can affect the influence one opinion has on others. Our goal is to understand how different aspects of influence lead to recognizable spatio-temporal patterns of opinions and their strengths. To do this, we introduce a stochastic spatial agent-based model of opinion dynamics that includes a spectrum of opinion strengths and various possible rules for how the opinion strength of …Read more
  •  45
    Spatial opinion dynamics and the effects of two types of mixing
    with Peter A. Fetros, Stephen M. Krone, and Rebecca T. Tyson
    Physical Review E 98 (2): 022310. 2018.
    Spatially situated opinions that can be held with different degrees of conviction lead to spatiotemporal patterns such as clustering (homophily), polarization, and deadlock. Our goal is to understand how sensitive these patterns are to changes in the local nature of interactions. We introduce two different mixing mechanisms, spatial relocation and nonlocal interaction (“telephoning”), to an earlier fully spatial model (no mixing). Interestingly, the mechanisms that create deadlock in the fully s…Read more
  •  35
    Many of our categorization experiences are non-transitive. For some objects a, b and c, a and b can appear indistinguishable, and likewise b and c, but a and c can appear distinguishable. Many categories also appear to be smooth; transitions between cases are not experienced as sharp, but rather as continuous. These two features of our categorization experiences tend to be addressed separately. Moreover, many views model smoothness by making use of infinite degrees. This paper presents a methodo…Read more
  •  16
    Extended Mechanistic Explanations: Expanding the Current Mechanistic Conception to Include More Complex Biological Systems
    with Sarah M. Roe
    Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (4): 517-534. 2017.
    Mechanistic accounts of explanation have recently found popularity within philosophy of science. Presently, we introduce the idea of an extended mechanistic explanation, which makes explicit room for the role of environment in explanation. After delineating Craver and Bechtel’s account, we argue this suggestion is not sufficiently robust when we take seriously the mechanistic environment and modeling practices involved in studying contemporary complex biological systems. Our goal is to extend th…Read more
  • The influence of political ideology and trust on willingness to vaccinate
    with Juliet E. Carlisle and Florian Justwan
    PLoS ONE 13 (1). 2018.
    In light of the increasing refusal of some parents to vaccinate children, public health strategies have focused on increasing knowledge and awareness based on a “knowledge-deficit” approach. However, decisions about vaccination are based on more than mere knowledge of risks, costs, and benefits. Individual decision making about vaccinating involves many other factors including those related to emotion, culture, religion, and socio-political context. In this paper, we use a nationally representat…Read more