Stop Talking about Fake News!

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (9-10):1033-1065 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Since 2016, there has been an explosion of academic work and journalism that fixes its subject matter using the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’. In this paper, I argue that this terminology is not up to scratch, and that academics and journalists ought to completely stop using the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’. I set out three arguments for abandonment. First, that ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ do not have stable public meanings, entailing that they are either nonsense, context-sensitive, or contested. Secondly, that these terms are unnecessary, because we already have a rich vocabulary for thinking about epistemic dysfunction. Thirdly, I observe that ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ have propagandistic uses, meaning that using them legitimates anti-democratic propaganda, and runs the risk of smuggling bad ideology into conversations.

Similar books and articles

What is fake news?Romy Jaster & David Lanius - 2018 - Versus 2 (127):207-227.
The Problem of Fake News.M. R. X. Dentith - 2016 - Public Reason 8 (1-2):65-79.
Post-truth and fake news.Michael A. Peters - 2017 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 49 (6):567-567.
Fake News and Partisan Epistemology.Regina Rini - 2017 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 27 (S2):43-64.
Fake News, False Beliefs, and the Need for Truth in Journalism.Aaron Quinn - 2017 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (1):21-29.
Fake News, False Beliefs, and the Need for Truth in Journalism.Aaron Quinn - 2017 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (1):21-29.
Fake News: A Definition.Axel Gelfert - 2018 - Informal Logic 38 (1):84-117.
Aesthetics of Fake. An Overview.Andrea Mecacci - 2016 - Aisthesis: Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi Dell’Estetico 9 (2):59-69.
Il Fascino Ingannevole Della Dotta Citazione.Guido Del Giudice - 2018 - Biblioteca di Via Senato (5):66-69.
Fake Identities in Social Network Research: To Be Disclosed?Shunhai Qu & Viroj Wiwanitkit - 2014 - Science and Engineering Ethics 20 (4):1151-1151.

Analytics

Added to PP
2018-07-16

Downloads
4,150 (#1,382)

6 months
401 (#4,135)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Joshua Habgood-Coote
University of Leeds

Citations of this work

The Politics of Post-Truth.Michael Hannon - 2023 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 35 (1):40-62.
Fake News and Epistemic Vice: Combating a Uniquely Noxious Market.Megan Fritts & Frank Cabrera - 2022 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association (3):1-22.
Consuming Fake News: Can We Do Any Better?Michel Croce & Tommaso Piazza - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (2):232-241.
What’s New About Fake News?Jessica Pepp, Eliot Michaelson & Rachel Sterken - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (2):67-94.

View all 47 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

How to do things with words.John Langshaw Austin - 1962 - Oxford [Eng.]: Clarendon Press. Edited by Marina Sbisá & J. O. Urmson.
Logical foundations of probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago]: Chicago University of Chicago Press.
Language, truth and logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London,: V. Gollancz.

View all 66 references / Add more references