Zoom Link: https://uci.zoom.us/j/95672233641

Social epistemic pathologies plague our society. We perpetually find polarization, pluralistic ignorance, the spread of fake news, online mobbing, and others. Some scholars attribute these social pathologies to individual irrationality. Fake news spreads because people are not careful consumers of news. Polarization occurs because of irrational attachments to political positions. And so on. In this talk, Zollman will argue that there may be purely social pathologies; epistemic problems that reside entirely at the "group level." Zollman will do this through a case study of pluralistic ignorance, a phenomenon studied in social psychology, business, philosophy, and political science. When in a state of pluralistic ignorance, every person in a community will disavow a private belief they hold because they think others feel differently. Pluralistic ignorance is consistent with individual rationality, Zollman argues, and it can arise in completely rational communities. Zollman will conclude by discussing what the possibility of group level epistemic pathologies means for how we address collective problems around knowledge and belief.

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