LIRa Session: Jeroen de Ridder

Speaker: Jeroen de Ridder

Date and Time: Thursday, December 13th 2018, 17:00-18:30

Venue: ILLC Seminar Room F1.15, Science Park 107.

Title: Fake News Epistemology.

Abstract. 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.