Zefat Academic College
  •  75
    Can Artificail Entities Assert?
    In Sanford C. Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    There is an existing debate regarding the view that technological instruments, devices, or machines can assert ‎or testify. A standard view in epistemology is that only humans can testify. However, the notion of quasi-‎testimony acknowledges that technological devices can assert or testify under some conditions, without ‎denying that humans and machines are not the same. Indeed, there are four relevant differences between ‎humans and instruments. First, unlike humans, machine assertion is not im…Read more
  •  583
    The Social Epistemology of Consensus and Dissent
    In David Henderson, Peter Graham, Miranda Fricker & Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology, Routledge. pp. 228-237. 2019.
    This paper reviews current debates in social epistemology about the relations ‎between ‎knowledge ‎and consensus. These relations are philosophically interesting on their ‎own, but ‎also have ‎practical consequences, as consensus takes an increasingly significant ‎role in ‎informing public ‎decision making. The paper addresses the following questions. ‎When is a ‎consensus attributable to an epistemic community? Under what conditions may ‎we ‎legitimately infer that a consensual view is knowledg…Read more
  •  674
    Social Epistemology as a New Paradigm for Journalism and Media Studies
    with Yigal Godler and Zvi Reich
    New Media and Society. forthcoming.
    Journalism and media studies lack robust theoretical concepts for studying journalistic knowledge ‎generation. More specifically, conceptual challenges attend the emergence of big data and ‎algorithmic sources of journalistic knowledge. A family of frameworks apt to this challenge is ‎provided by “social epistemology”: a young philosophical field which regards society’s participation ‎in knowledge generation as inevitable. Social epistemology offers the best of both worlds for ‎journalists and m…Read more
  •  361
    Why knowledge is the property of a community and possibly none of its members
    Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260): 417-441. 2015.
    Mainstream analytic epistemology regards knowledge as the property of individuals, rather ‎than groups. Drawing on insights from the reality of knowledge production and dissemination ‎in the sciences, I argue, from within the analytic framework, that this view is wrong. I defend ‎the thesis of ‘knowledge-level justification communalism’, which states that at least some ‎knowledge, typically knowledge obtained from expert testimony, is the property of a ‎community and possibly none of its individ…Read more
  •  384
    Catching the WAVE: The Weight-Adjusting Account of Values and Evidence
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 47 69-80. 2014.
    It is commonly argued that values “fill the logical gap” of underdetermination of theory by evidence, namely, values affect our choice between two or more theories that fit the same evidence. The underdetermination model, however, does not exhaust the roles values play in evidential reasoning. I introduce WAVE – a novel account of the logical relations between values and evidence. WAVE states that values influence evidential reasoning by adjusting evidential weights. I argue that the weight-adj…Read more
  •  17
    REVIEW: Lee McIntyre. Dark Ages: The Case for a Science of Human Behavior (review)
    Spontaneous Generations 5 (1): 85-87. 2011.
    The social sciences today, Lee McIntyre argues, are in the same state in which the natural sciences were in the Dark Ages. In the same way that religion inhibited the progress of science and the growth of knowledge in the Dark Ages, so is political correctness inhibiting progress in the social sciences and the growth of knowledge today. This is why, so he argues, the social sciences do not follow the scientific method like the natural sciences do, and are hence incapable of offering effective so…Read more
  •  425
    Science, values, and pragmatic encroachment on knowledge
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (2): 253-270. 2014.
    Philosophers have recently argued, against a prevailing orthodoxy, that standards of knowledge partly depend on a subject’s interests; the more is at stake for the subject, the less she is in a position to know. This view, which is dubbed “Pragmatic Encroachment” has historical and conceptual connections to arguments in philosophy of science against the received model of science as value free. I bring the two debates together. I argue that Pragmatic Encroachment and the model of value-laden scie…Read more
  •  35
    What Does it Mean that PRIMES is in P: Popularization and Distortion Revisited
    Social Studies of Science 39 (2): 257-288. 2009.
    In August 2002, three Indian computer scientists published a paper, ‘PRIMES is in P’, online. It presents a ‘deterministic algorithm’ which determines in ‘polynomial time’ if a given number is a prime number. The story was quickly picked up by the general press, and by this means spread through the scientific community of complexity theorists, where it was hailed as a major theoretical breakthrough. This is although scientists regarded the media reports as vulgar popularizations. When the paper …Read more
  •  546
    Taking iPhone Seriously: Epistemic Technologies and the Extended Mind
    In Duncan Pritchard, Jesper Kallestrup‎, Orestis Palermos & J. Adam Carter‎ (eds.), Extended Epistemology, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    David Chalmers thinks his iPhone exemplifies the extended mind thesis by meeting the criteria ‎that he and Andy Clark established in their well-known 1998 paper. Andy Clark agrees. We take ‎this proposal seriously, evaluating the case of the GPS-enabled smartphone as a potential mind ‎extender. We argue that the “trust and glue” criteria enumerated by Clark and Chalmers are ‎incompatible with both the epistemic responsibilities that accompany everyday activities and the ‎practices of trust that …Read more
  •  741
    Information providing and gathering increasingly involve technologies like search ‎engines, which actively shape their epistemic surroundings. Yet, a satisfying account ‎of the epistemic responsibilities associated with them does not exist. We analyze ‎automatically generated search suggestions from the perspective of social ‎epistemology to illustrate how epistemic responsibilities associated with a ‎technology can be derived and assigned. Drawing on our previously developed ‎theoretical framew…Read more
  •  3590
    Scientific consensus is widely deferred to in public debates as a social indicator of the existence of knowledge. However, it is far from clear that such deference to consensus is always justified. The existence of agreement in a community of researchers is a contingent fact, and researchers may reach a consensus for all kinds of reasons, such as fighting a common foe or sharing a common bias. Scientific consensus, by itself, does not necessarily indicate the existence of shared knowledge among …Read more
  •  42
    A consensus in a scientific community is often used as a resource for making informed public-policy decisions and deciding between rival expert testimonies in legal trials. This paper contains a social-epistemic analysis of the high-profile Bendectin drug controversy, which was decided in the courtroom inter alia by deference to a scientific consensus about the safety of Bendectin. Drawing on my previously developed account of knowledge-based consensus, I argue that the consensus in this case wa…Read more
  •  257
    Margaret Atwood and David Suzuki are two of the most prominent Canadian public ‎intellectuals ‎involved in the global warming debate. They both argue that anthropogenic global ‎warming is ‎occurring, warn against its grave consequences, and urge governments and the ‎public to take ‎immediate, decisive, extensive, and profound measures to prevent it. They differ, ‎however, in the ‎reasons and evidence they provide in support of their position. While Suzuki ‎stresses the scientific ‎evidence in fa…Read more
  •  1360
    What is Hacking’s argument for entity realism?
    Synthese 193 (3): 991-1006. 2016.
    According to Ian Hacking’s Entity Realism, unobservable entities that scientists carefully manipulate to study other phenomena are real. Although Hacking presents his case in an intuitive, attractive, and persuasive way, his argument remains elusive. I present five possible readings of Hacking’s argument: a no-miracle argument, an indispensability argument, a transcendental argument, a Vichian argument, and a non-argument. I elucidate Hacking’s argument according to each reading, and review thei…Read more
  •  1990
    People increasingly form beliefs based on information gained from automatically filtered Internet ‎sources such as search engines. However, the workings of such sources are often opaque, preventing ‎subjects from knowing whether the information provided is biased or incomplete. Users’ reliance on ‎Internet technologies whose modes of operation are concealed from them raises serious concerns about ‎the justificatory status of the beliefs they end up forming. Yet it is unclear how to address these…Read more
  •  251
    The Rationality Principle Idealized
    Social Epistemology 26 (1): 3-30. 2012.
    According to Popper's rationality principle, agents act in the most adequate way according to the objective situation. I propose a new interpretation of the rationality principle as consisting of an idealization and two abstractions. Based on this new interpretation, I critically discuss the privileged status that Popper ascribes to it as an integral part of all social scientific models. I argue that as an idealization, the rationality principle may play an important role in the social sciences,…Read more