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Fake news and epistemic flooding


Anderau, Glenn (2023). Fake news and epistemic flooding. Synthese, 202(4):106.

Abstract

The advance of the internet and social media has had a drastic impact on our epistemic environment. This paper will focus on two different risks epistemic agents face online: being exposed to fake news and epistemic flooding. While the first risk is widely known and has been extensively discussed in the philosophical literature, the notion of ‘epistemic flooding’ is a novel concept introduced in this paper. Epistemic flooding occurs when epistemic agents find themselves in epistemic environments in which they are routinely confronted with more information and evidence than they can diligently process. Epistemic flooding is one of the most significant risks epistemic agents run while using social media and one of the reasons why the first risk (being exposed to fake news) is especially pernicious. It is particularly harmful if one ascribes to the Spinozan model of belief acquisition in which belief comes easy. Mitigating the combined threat of fake news and epistemic flooding requires us to think normatively about our epistemic environments and how to better them. This paper turns to the normative framework of epistemic environmentalism in order to accomplish this.

Abstract

The advance of the internet and social media has had a drastic impact on our epistemic environment. This paper will focus on two different risks epistemic agents face online: being exposed to fake news and epistemic flooding. While the first risk is widely known and has been extensively discussed in the philosophical literature, the notion of ‘epistemic flooding’ is a novel concept introduced in this paper. Epistemic flooding occurs when epistemic agents find themselves in epistemic environments in which they are routinely confronted with more information and evidence than they can diligently process. Epistemic flooding is one of the most significant risks epistemic agents run while using social media and one of the reasons why the first risk (being exposed to fake news) is especially pernicious. It is particularly harmful if one ascribes to the Spinozan model of belief acquisition in which belief comes easy. Mitigating the combined threat of fake news and epistemic flooding requires us to think normatively about our epistemic environments and how to better them. This paper turns to the normative framework of epistemic environmentalism in order to accomplish this.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Philosophy
Social Sciences & Humanities > General Social Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Social Sciences, Philosophy
Language:English
Date:24 September 2023
Deposited On:11 Oct 2023 15:54
Last Modified:31 Jan 2024 02:43
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0039-7857
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-023-04336-7
Project Information:
  • : FunderUniversity of Zurich
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)