Fake News: The Case for a Purely Consumer-Oriented Explication

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Our current understanding of ‘fake news’ is not in good shape. On the one hand, this category seems to be urgently needed for an adequate understanding of the epistemology in the age of the internet. On the other hand, the term has an unstable ordinary meaning and the prevalent accounts which all relate fake news to epistemically bad attitudes of the producer lack theoretical unity, sufficient extensional adequacy, and epistemic fruitfulness. I will therefore suggest an alternative account of fake news that is meant as an explication rather than a traditional conceptual analysis of the term and that understands fake news solely from the consumer’s perspective. I will argue that this new account has the required theoretical unity, that it is epistemically highly fruitful, and that it is still very close to the ordinary usage. I conclude with addressing some of the main objections to this view.



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Thomas Grundmann
University of Cologne

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