Kriterion – Journal of Philosophy 35 (3):197-215 (2021)

Fake news is a worrying phenomenon which is growing increasingly widespread, partly because of the ease with which it is disseminated online. Combating the spread of fake news requires a clear understanding of the nature of fake news. However, the use of the term in everyday language is heterogenous and has no fixed meaning. Despite increasing philosophical attention to the topic, there is no consensus on the correct definition of “fake news” within philosophy either. This paper aims to bring clarity to the philosophical debate of fake news in two ways: Firstly, by providing an overview of existing philosophical definitions and secondly, by developing a new account of fake news. This paper will identify where there is agreement within the philosophical debate of definitions of “fake news” and isolate four key questions on which there is genuine disagreement. These concern the intentionality underlying fake news, its truth value, the question of whether fake news needs to reach a minimum audience, and the question of whether an account of fake news needs to be dynamic. By answering these four questions, I provide a novel account of defining “fake news”. This new definition hinges upon the fact that fake news has the function of being deliberately misleading about its own status as news.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1515/krt-2021-0019
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,436
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Truth and Truthfulness: An Essay in Genealogy.Bernard Williams - 2002 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Fake News and Partisan Epistemology.Regina Rini - 2017 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 27 (S2):43-64.
Stop Talking About Fake News!Josh Habgood-Coote - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (9-10):1033-1065.

View all 23 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

What is Fake News?M. R. X. Dentith - 2018 - University of Bucharest Review (2):24-34.
What is Fake News?Romy Jaster & David Lanius - 2018 - Versus 2 (127):207-227.
Speaking of Fake News: Definitions and Dimensions.Romy Jaster & David Lanius - 2021 - In Sven Bernecker, Amy Flowerree & Thomas Grundmann (eds.), The Epistemology of Fake News. Oxford University Press. pp. 19-45.
Fake News: A Definition.Axel Gelfert - 2018 - Informal Logic 38 (1):84-117.
Why We Should Keep Talking About Fake News.Jessica Pepp, Eliot Michaelson & Rachel Sterken - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (4):471-487.
What’s New About Fake News?Jessica Pepp, Eliot Michaelson & Rachel Sterken - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (2).
The Problem of Fake News.M. R. X. Dentith - 2016 - Public Reason 8 (1-2):65-79.
Fake News and Democracy.Merten Reglitz - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 22 (2): 162-187.
Free Speech and the Legal Prohibition of Fake News.Étienne Brown - forthcoming - Social Theory and Practice.
Pragmatist Media Ethics and the Challenges of Fake News.Scott R. Stroud - 2019 - Journal of Media Ethics 34 (4):178-192.
Stop Talking About Fake News!Josh Habgood-Coote - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (9-10):1033-1065.


Added to PP index

Total views
11 ( #856,162 of 2,520,400 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #72,099 of 2,520,400 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes