Authors
Nikil S. Mukerji
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Abstract
An important way in which philosophy can contribute to public discourse is by clarifying concepts that are central to it. This paper is a philosophical contribution in that spirit. It offers an account of fake news—a notion that has entered public debate following the 2016 US presidential election. On the view I defend, fake news is Frankfurtian bullshit that is asserted in the form of a news publication. According to Frankfurt’s famous account, bullshit has two characteristics. There is, firstly, an “indifference to how things really are” on the part of the bullshitter. This does not mean that what a bullshitter says is always false. It might well be true. What it does mean, however, is that, unlike a liar, who tries to convince us that a given statement he believes to be false is true, a bullshitter simply does not care whether what he says is true. The same, I believe, is true of the publisher of fake news. Secondly, the bullshitter misrepresents “in a certain way … what he is up to”. Likewise, the publisher of fake news seems to misrepresent what he is up to. It appears that he wants to hide his actual motives. At any rate, so I will argue.
Keywords fake news  bullshit  media  pizzagate  Trump  Frankfurt  satire  truth indifference  epistemic insouciance  conceptual engineering
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DOI 10.3998/ergo.12405314.0005.035
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References found in this work BETA

Studies in the Way of Words.H. P. Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Philosophy Within its Proper Bounds.Edouard Machery - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
Studies in the Way of Words.D. E. Over - 1990 - Philosophical Quarterly 40 (160):393-395.
Fake News and Partisan Epistemology.Regina Rini - 2017 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 27 (S2):43-64.
On Bullshit.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1986 - Princeton University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

What's New About Fake News?Jessica Pepp, Eliot Michaelson & Rachel Sterken - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (2).
Epistemologia delle fake news.Tommaso Piazza & Michel Croce - 2019 - Sistemi Intelligenti 31 (3):433-461.
Defeating Fake News: On Journalism, Knowledge, and Democracy.Brian Ball - 2021 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 8 (1):5-26.
"Fake News" and Conceptual Ethics.Etienne Brown - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (2).

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