Rethinking the Post-Truth Polarisation Narrative: Social Roles and Hinge Commitments in the PluralPublic Sphere

The Political Quarterly 4 (92):598-605 (2021)
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This article critically evaluates what we call the ‘popular narrative’ about the state of the public sphere. We identify three elements of this popular narrative (the post-truth element, the polarisation element and the new technology element), and draw on philosophical work on hinge epistemology and social roles to challenge each one. We propose, instead, that public debate has always depended on non-evidential commitments, that it has always been home to significant, deep division, and that social media, rather than causing these phenomena, has just made them more visible. Finally, we recommend some changes to traditional and social media which we believe would help foster a healthier, more inclusive, public sphere.



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Natalie Alana Ashton
University of Stirling
Rowan Cruft
University of Stirling

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