Don’t forget forgetting: the social epistemic importance of how we forget

Daniel J. Singer, Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Bennett Holman, Karen Kovaka, Jiin Jung, William J. Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We motivate a picture of social epistemology that sees forgetting as subject to epistemic evaluation. Using computer simulations of a simple agent-based model, we show that how agents forget can have as large an impact on group epistemic outcomes as how they share information. But, how we forget, unlike how we form beliefs, isn’t typically taken to be the sort of thing that can be epistemically rational or justified. We consider what we take to be the most promising argument for this claim and find it lacking. We conclude that understanding how agents forget should be as central to social epistemology as understanding how agents form beliefs and share information with others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5373-5394
Number of pages22
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Nature B.V.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)


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