Fake news, conspiracy theorizing, and intellectual vice

In Mark Alfano, Colin Klein & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), Social Virtue Epistemology. Routledge (2022)
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Abstract

Across two studies, one of which was pre-registered, we find that a simple questionnaire that measures intellectual virtue and vice predicts how many fake news articles and conspiracy theories participants accept. This effect holds even when controlling for multiple demographic predictors, including age, household income, sex, education, ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, and news consumption. These results indicate that self-report is an adequate way to measure intellectual virtue and vice, which suggests that they are not fully immune to introspective awareness or “stealthy” in the sense that Cassam (2015) argues. This is an important methodological result and may pave the way for future research on intellectual virtue and vice.

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