Interpretive Blindness

19 Oct 2021  ·  Nicholas Asher, Julie Hunter ·

We model here an epistemic bias we call \textit{interpretive blindness} (IB). IB is a special problem for learning from testimony, in which one acquires information only from text or conversation. We show that IB follows from a co-dependence between background beliefs and interpretation in a Bayesian setting and the nature of contemporary testimony. We argue that a particular characteristic contemporary testimony, \textit{argumentative completeness}, can preclude learning in hierarchical Bayesian settings, even in the presence of constraints that are designed to promote good epistemic practices.

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