SEWing Circle

SEWing Circle: Manuel Almagro on Affective Polarization

The Social Epistemology Working Group Presents a SEWing circle workshop: The Concept of Affective Polarization and the Ways to Measure It, Manuel Almagro, Visiting Scholar, UConn Humanities Institute. December 15, 2022. UCHI Conference Room, Homer Babbidge Library.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

The Social Epistemology Working Group presents:

A SEWing Circle Workshop

The Concept of Affective Polarization and the Ways to Measure It

Manuel Almagro

December 15, 2022, 2:00pm
Homer Babbidge Library, Humanities Institute Conference Room

This event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning. Register to attend virtually.

Affective polarization is usually defined as a tendency to dislike those from other party/parties while holding positive feelings toward the in-group, and it is usually measured by asking citizens if they have cold or warm feelings toward certain political leaders, political topics, or political parties. Thus, the claim “many contemporary democracies have become affectively polarized” usually means that their citizens have become more negative in their feelings toward the other party, moving from moderate levels of sympathy toward increasingly strong dislike. Here I will argue that feelings are just an element—possibly not the most relevant one—of the complex, multidimensional concept of affective polarization. I also review the main challenges the techniques to measure affective polarization face, and discuss the possible benefits of focusing on other dimensions of the concept in order to detect it at an early stage.

Manuel Almagro is a “Margarita Salas” postdoctoral fellow at the University of Granada (Spain), currently visiting the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut and working with Professor Michael P. Lynch. He will join the University of Valencia (Spain) in the summer of 2023 as a “Juan de la Cierva” postdoctoral fellow. He works on political epistemology, philosophy of language, and experimental philosophy. Most of his current research is focused on affective polarization and disagreement.

SEWing Circle: Neftalí Villanueva Fernández on Crossed Disagreements

The Social Epistemology Working Group Presents a SEWing circle workshop: Crossed disagreements: semantical and epistemological issues. Neftalí Villanueva Fernández, Professor of Philosophy University of Granada.October 6, 2020, 2:00pm. UCHI conference room.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

The Social Epistemology Working Group presents:

A SEWing Circle Workshop

Crossed Disagreements: Semantical and Epistemological Issues

Neftalí Villanueva Fernández

November 1, 2022, 2:00pm
Homer Babbidge Library, Humanities Institute Conference Room

This event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning. Register to attend virtually.

Crossed disagreements are instances of public discourse where the parties involved give clear signs of conceiving the debate under different lights. One might be thinking of the dispute in factual terms, for example, while the other might be taking the dispute to be one of a normative nature. An overwhelming presence of these disagreements can be linked to the rise of polarization. Because of its connection with polarization, they can be identified as forms of political propaganda. The purpose of this talk is to reflect on two different questions: 1. Do crossed disagreements stand in the way of knowledge? 2. What kind of restrictions do crossed disagreements impose on a theory of meaning? We will also dwell on the connection between epistemological and semantical issues, both with respect to the past literature on disagreement, and the future research on the topic. We will argue for a “promiscuous” approach, one in which epistemological and semantical questions remain intertwined.

Neftalí Villanueva is Profesor Titular and Head of the Department of Philosophy I at the University of Granada in Spain. Most of his work focuses on applying the philosophy of language to classical questions in the history of philosophy and to political and social problems. He is currently Principal Investigator on three separate research projects on polarization and disagreement: “Contemporary Expressivisms and the Indispensability of the Normative Vocabulary: Scope and Limits of the Expressivist Hypothesis,” “Public Disagreements, Affective Polarization and Immigration in Andalusia,” and “Offensive language, Inverse Planning, and the ‘Abstract/Concrete’ Dissonance: New Proxies to Measure Affective Polarization.”

SEWing Circle: Lauren Leydon-Hardy on Epistemically Collaborative Repair

The Social Epistemology Working Group Presents a SEWing circle workshop: Epistemically Collaborative Repair, Lauren Leydon-Hardy, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Amherst College. October 6, 2020, 2:00pm. UCHI conference room.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057. We can request ASL interpreting, computer-assisted real time transcription, and other accommodations offered by the Center for Students with Disabilities.

The Social Epistemology Working Group presents:

A SEWing Circle Workshop

Epistemically Collaborative Repair

Lauren Leydon-Hardy

October 6, 2022, 2:00pm
Homer Babbidge Library, Humanities Institute Conference Room

This event will also be livestreamed with automated captioning. Register to attend virtually.

Many epistemologists have been dubious of the idea of epistemic obligation. For a discipline that often understands itself as beginning with the perennial problem of skepticism, it isn’t hard to see why this would be: if I could be a recently envatted brain, or if I may now be massively deceived by an evil demon, then surely there is nothing that I am obliged to believe—not even that here is a hand. Recently, Jennifer Lackey (2021) has argued not only that we have epistemic duties, but that our epistemic duties pertain to both our doxastic and our practical lives; to what we ought to believe, and to how we ought to conduct ourselves qua epistemic agents. Moreover, she argues that our epistemic duties might be other regarding. Beyond my obligation to believe in accordance with my evidence, I may also have epistemic obligations to you. On this view, positive interpersonal epistemic obligations will include the promotion of various epistemic goods, while negative interpersonal epistemic obligations will involve the prevention of epistemic wrongs or harms. More recently still, Lackey has also developed a framework for thinking about epistemic reparations, which she understands to be: “Intentionally reparative actions in the form of epistemic goods given to those epistemically wronged by parties who acknowledge these wrongs and whose reparative actions are intended to redress them.” On this framework, certain kinds of experiences have distinctively epistemic dimensions. These include “gross violation[s] or injustice[s],” which specifically give rise to “the right to be known, and the corresponding duty to see, hear, and bear witness—to know.” This kind of knowing, which involves bearing witness, is epistemically reparative work. In this paper I explore a particular type of epistemically reparative work. I call this epistemically collaborative repair and suggest that the need for epistemically collaborative repair arises from a particularly thorny type of epistemic obligation to the self. These obligations involve acquiring difficult or challenging articles of self-knowledge, for example, that one has been a victim of child sexual abuse, or that one has been predatorily groomed. Sometimes, we owe it to ourselves to understand what happened to us. And sometimes, we cannot do that alone, through recollection or rumination on the details of our experiences. Instead, I argue that discharging this self-regarding epistemic obligation might only be possible through the satisfaction of another person’s corresponding right to be known. These are cases where an epistemic agent’s route to understanding their first-personal experience is in and through the epistemic work of ‘bearing witness’ in Lackey’s sense. Thus, it is in this act of epistemic service that one may come to learn their own truth, discharging their own, self-regarding epistemic duty through essentially collaborative epistemic repair.

Lauren Leydon-Hardy is an assistant professor at Amherst College, Department of Philosophy. Her research program is centered around the norms that govern our social world and how those norms shape our epistemic lives.