Ignorance and Irrationality in Politics
A Workshop at the University of Nottingham
June 10-11, 2019
A common belief is that democracies require informed voters if they are to function well. But when the price to be adequately informed is too high, it makes sense for voters to guide their beliefs by their desire for comfort, affiliation, and belonging. Does this conflict with the epistemic demands of democracy? If it is true, as some political scientist and psychologists allege, that political belief-formation is primarily driven by social identities and ‘tribal’ allegiances, does this make us irrational? What is required for epistemically responsible belief formation in the domain of politics?
The workshop will explore two issues: the extent and causes of citizen ignorance, and whether (and in what ways) belief formation in politics is epistemically irrational, even if it may reflect instrumental rationality on the part of citizens.
All takes were recorded. Click links below.
MONDAY JUNE 10
EPISTEMIC ASYMMETRIES IN POLITICAL COGNITION
Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Liverpool
DEMOCRACY AND POLITICAL IGNORANCE
Professor of Law at George Mason University
SCIENCE FUNDING AND THE MAKING OF IGNORANCE
Supernumerary Fellow in Politics at St. John’s, Oxford
TUESDAY JUNE 11
FEELING DISCOMFORT: ACTIVE IGNORANCE AND ANGER
Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cardiff
EVIDENTIALISM AND POLITICAL POLARIZATION
Emily Colleen McWilliams
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Duke Kunshan
EMPATHETIC UNDERSTANDING AND DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Nottingham
THE PERILS OF PERCEPTION: SYSTEMIC DRIVERS OF MISPERCEPTIONS
Director of the Policy Institute, King’s College London
This event was made possible thanks to the generous support of the following associations: