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With elections of populist governments across the world, there have been increasing concerns that fake news in online platforms is undermining the legitimacy of the press, the democratic process, and the authority of sources such as science, the social sciences and qualified experts. The global reach of Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms has shown that they can be used to spread fake and misleading news quickly and seemingly without control. In addition to their power and reach, these platforms operate, and indeed thrive, in what seems to be an increasingly fractured media ecosystem where networks of users will predominantly access and consume information that conforms to their existing worldviews. Conflicting positions, even if relevant and authoritative, can be suppressed, discredited or overlooked, fostering confusion over how a user can determine fact from fiction.
The role of higher education is critical within this context, as universities have traditionally been regarded as sites of epistemic authority where knowledge is created and disseminated through the work of academics and theoretically grounded systems of teaching. Recent trends have shown that universities market the idea that an education through them will create ‘future-ready’, ‘globally-aware’ and ‘critically-thinking’ graduates, equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge to deal with issues facing our modern world, including public health crises, climate change and conflict.
This event will showcase a diverse collection of contributions from an edited volume entitled ‘Dupery By Design: The Epistemology of Deceit in a Postdigital Era’ (MacKenzie, Rose & Bhatt 2021), part of the PDSE book series. Papers will tackle a number of critical issues in relation to the current crisis of trust and will lend theoretical and philosophical insight into how digital technologies interact with belief systems to achieve deception, and its related epistemic vices: lies, dupery, misinformation, disinformation, and ignorance. The event’s underscoring themes include:
· How online platforms are designed to exploit particular vices such as close-mindedness, epistemic nihilism, insouciance, etc. and contribute to the power and dissemination of deception;
· Deception: what is it? Is there anything peculiar about the times in which we live that should raise special concerns about the proliferation of fake news, lies, bullshit and other such vices online?
· How do our individual and collective epistemologies interact with digital technologies to produce deceit?
· How can we counter epistemic vices online, and protect ourselves and our institutions from their potentially baneful effects?
· Can deception ever be justified? Is there anything to be learned from mass propaganda and deceit in other historical periods?
Discussants: Alison MacKenzie, Ibrar Bhatt, Jennifer Rose (Queen’s University Belfast)
Plenary speaker: Alison MacKenzie (Queen’s University Belfast)
Contributors to this event include the following, with the exact timetable of presentations yet to be confirmed:
Petar JandriÄ‡ (Zagreb University of Applied Sciences, Croatia; University of Wolverhampton, UK)
Peter McLaren (Chapman University, USA)
Michael A. Peters (Beijing Normal University, China)
Jake Wright (Center for Learning Innovation, University of Minnesota Rochester, Rochester, Minnesota, USA)
Selman Özdan (School of Law, Ondokuz MayisUniversity, Turkey)
Benjamin Green (Beijing Normal University, China)
Victoria O’Sullivan (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
Jennifer Saul (Department of Philosophy, J.G. Hagey Hall of the Humanities, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
Jialei Jiang (Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA)
Albin Wagener (Université Rennes 2 / INALCO., France)
Mike Hajimichael (Department of Communications, University of Nicosia, Cyprus)
Christine Sinclair (University of Edinburgh, UK)
Shane J. Ralston (Wright College, Woolf University, Malta)
Eamon Costello (Dublin City University, National Institute for Digital Learning, Dublin, Ireland)
Prajakta Girme (Dublin City University, National Institute for Digital Learning, Dublin, Ireland)
Tess Maginess (Queen’s University Belfast, UK)