Is searching the internet making us intellectually arrogant?

Carter, J. A. and Gordon, E. (2020) Is searching the internet making us intellectually arrogant? In: Tanesini, A. and Lynch, M. P. (eds.) Polarisation, Arrogance, and Dogmatism: Philosophical Perspectives. Routledge, pp. 88-103. ISBN 9780367260859 (doi: 10.4324/9780429291395-9)

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In a recent and provocative paper, Matthew Fisher, Mariel Goddu and Frank Keil (2015) have argued, on the basis of experimental evidence, that ‘searching the internet leads people to conflate information that can be found online with knowledge “in the head”’ (2015, 675), specifically, by inclining us to conflate mere access to information for personal knowledge (2015, 674). This chapter has three central aims. First, we briefly detail Fisher et al.’s results and show how, on the basis of recent work in virtue epistemology (e.g., Tiberius and Walker 1998; Roberts and Wood 2007; Tanesini 2016), their interpretation of the data supports the thesis that searching the internet is conducive to the vice of intellectual arrogance. Second, we argue that this arrogance interpretation of the data rests on an implicit commitment to cognitive internalism. Thirdly, we show how the data can be given a very different explanation in light of the hypothesis of extended cognition (e.g., Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2008) – one which challenges the extent to which Fisher et al. are entitled to insist that subjects are actually conflating access to knowledge for personal knowledge in the first place. We conclude by suggesting how, against the background of extended cognition rather than cognitive internalism, we have some reason to think that searching the internet might actually foster (in certain circumstances) virtuous intellectual humility.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gordon, Dr Emma and Carter, Dr J Adam
Authors: Carter, J. A., and Gordon, E.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Published Online:20 July 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Contributors
First Published:First published in Polarisation, Arrogance, and Dogmatism: Philosophical Perspectives: 88-103
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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