Fake News, Conceptual Engineering, and Linguistic Resistance: Reply to Pepp, Michaelson, and Sterken, and Brown

Joshua Habgood-Coote*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Abstract

In Habgood-Coote (2019 “Stop Talking about Fake News!” Inquiry: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62(9-10): 1033-1065) I argued that we should abandon ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’, on the grounds that these terms do not have stable public meanings, are unnecessary, and function as vehicles for propaganda. Jessica Pepp, Eliot Michaelson, and Rachel Sterken (2019 “Why we should keep talking about fake news” Inquiry: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy) and Étienne Brown (2019 “’Fake News’ and Conceptual Ethics”, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, 16(2): 144-154) have raised worries about my case for abandonment, recommending that we continue using ‘fake news’. In this paper, I respond to these worries. I distinguish more clearly between theoretical and political reasons for abandoning a term, assemble more evidence that ‘fake news’ is a nonsense term, and respond to the worries raised by Pepp, Michaelson and Sterken, and Brown. I close by considering the prospects for anti-fascist and anti-authoritarian conceptual engineering.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalInquiry
Early online date28 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 May 2020

Keywords

  • Fake news
  • conceptual engineering
  • anti-fascism
  • linguistic resistance
  • propaganda

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