Activities per year
Since 2016, there has been an explosion of academic work that fixes its subject matter using the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’. In this paper, I argue that this terminology is not up to scratch, and that academics and journalists ought to completely stop using the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’. I set out three arguments for abandonment. First, that ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ do not have stable public meanings, entailing that they are either nonsense, context-sensitive, or contested. Secondly, that these terms are unnecessary, because we already have a rich vocabulary for thinking about epistemic dysfunction. Thirdly, I observe that ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ have propagandistic uses, meaning that using these terms legitimates anti-democratic propaganda, and risks smuggling bad ideology into conversations.
- Fake news
- philosophy of language
- metalinguistic negotiation
- applied philosophy of language