Real Fakes: The Epistemology of Online Misinformation

Philosophy and Technology 35 (3):1-24 (2022)
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Abstract

Many of our beliefs are acquired online. Online epistemic environments are replete with fake news, fake science, fake photographs and videos, and fake people in the form of trolls and social bots. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the threat that such online fakes pose to the acquisition of knowledge. I argue that fakes can interfere with one or more of the truth, belief, and warrant conditions on knowledge. I devote most of my attention to the effects of online fakes on satisfaction of the warrant condition, as these have received comparatively little attention. I consider three accounts of the conditions under which fakes compromise the warrant condition. I argue for the third of these accounts, according to which the propensity of fakes to exist in an environment threatens warrant acquisition in that environment. Finally, I consider some limitations on the epistemic threat of fakes and suggest some strategies by which this threat can be mitigated.

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Keith Raymond Harris
University of Vienna

References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Philosophical explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Reason, truth, and history.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Knowledge in a social world.Alvin I. Goldman - 1991 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Reason, Truth and History.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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