Chapter published in:Controversies and Interdisciplinarity: Beyond disciplinary fragmentation for a new knowledge model
Edited by Jens Allwood, Olga Pombo, Clara Renna and Giovanni Scarafile
[Controversies 16] 2020
► pp. 75–94
Cognitive science and the controversy of anthropogenic climate change
This paper takes a cognitive science perspective on the controversy of anthropogenic climate change (ACC) between deniers and advocates. It argues that cognitive science is a suitable framework due to its interdisciplinarity, experience with controversies, and appeal to meta-principles of cognition. From a Bayesian perspective, deniers seem to reason irrationally (belief polarization) and from an epistemic virtue ethics perspective act viciously. Yet, their behavior can be modelled as rational when taking the factor “worldview” into account and become virtuous in terms of “mandevillian intelligence” at the collective level. Insofar as deniers’ conservatism aims at stability but advocates’ liberalism at change, they jointly resolve the “stability-plasticity dilemma”. A number of outstanding questions are addressed at the end of the paper.
Keywords: anthropogenic climate change, Bayesian modeling, belief polarization, cognitive science, collective virtue ethics, complex societal problem, controversy, interdisciplinarity, mandevillian intelligence, virtues and vices
Published online: 15 October 2020
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