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Mittwoch, 16.05.2018


Fake News Epistemology

18:00 - 19:30 Uhr
Seminarraum VI der Katholisch-Theologischen Fakultät, Karl-Rahner-Platz 3, 6020 Innsbruck

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Jeroen de Ridder (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Jeroen de Ridder is Associate Professor of Philosophy and co-director of the Abraham Kuyper Center for Science and the Big Questions at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He is also a member of the Dutch Young Academy. Most of his work is in social epistemology and philosophy of science, recently specifically on questions about the epistemic qualities of liberal democracy.

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Fake news is all the rage these days. In this talk, I draw on contemporary social epistemology to explain what’s so bad about fake news from an epistemic perspective. I start by developing a characterization of fake news. Next, I investigate direct and indirect bad effects of fake news. Among the direct bad effects of fake news are obvious things like the inducement of false or misleading beliefs in those who consume it. Less obviously, fake news also has indirect effects on people who don’t consume it. It can give people misleading defeaters, decrease the reliability of one’s sources, and affect the modal environment of our beliefs, hence undermining their epistemic status. I then zoom out to explore the indirect bad effects of fake news on our epistemic environments in general. Fake news shifts more of the burden for acquiring beliefs with positive epistemic status to our own cognitive agency, thus making it harder for us to do well epistemically.


Institut für Christliche Philosophie