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Wilful construction of ignorance: A tale of two ontologies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a report

Standard

Wilful construction of ignorance : A tale of two ontologies. / Lewandowsky, Stephan.

Deliberate ignorance: Choosing not to know. ed. / J R Lupp. Vol. 29 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Press, 2020. (Strüngmann Forum Reports).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a report

Harvard

Lewandowsky, S 2020, Wilful construction of ignorance: A tale of two ontologies. in JR Lupp (ed.), Deliberate ignorance: Choosing not to know. vol. 29, Strüngmann Forum Reports, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Press.

APA

Lewandowsky, S. (Accepted/In press). Wilful construction of ignorance: A tale of two ontologies. In J. R. Lupp (Ed.), Deliberate ignorance: Choosing not to know (Vol. 29). (Strüngmann Forum Reports). Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Press.

Vancouver

Lewandowsky S. Wilful construction of ignorance: A tale of two ontologies. In Lupp JR, editor, Deliberate ignorance: Choosing not to know. Vol. 29. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Press. 2020. (Strüngmann Forum Reports).

Author

Lewandowsky, Stephan. / Wilful construction of ignorance : A tale of two ontologies. Deliberate ignorance: Choosing not to know. editor / J R Lupp. Vol. 29 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Press, 2020. (Strüngmann Forum Reports).

Bibtex

@inbook{168b258bab134c8f842071bc69db671b,
title = "Wilful construction of ignorance: A tale of two ontologies",
abstract = "From Iraq{\textquoteright}s mythical weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to Donald Trump{\textquoteright}s record of more than 10 daily false or misleading statements, deception and false claims have been an integral part of political discourse for quite some time. Nonetheless, Trump{\textquoteright}s blatant disregard for the truth has given rise to much concern about the dawn of a “post-truth” era. I argue that there are striking differences between the tacit ontologies of truth underlying the WMD deception and Donald Trump{\textquoteright}s false claims, respectively. Whereas the WMD campaign contested a single reality, Trump{\textquoteright}s false claims often repudiate the very idea of external truths that exist independently of anyone{\textquoteright}s opinion. I consider this ontological shift from realism to extreme constructivism to be the most critical aspect of the current “post-truth” malaise. I note that an extreme constructivist “truth” has formed an essential aspect of historical fascism and Nazism, as well as of contemporary populist movements, and that those conceptions are incompatible with liberal-democratic norms of truth-seeking. I conclude by pointing toward potential solutions of the “post-truth” crisis. ",
keywords = "Misinformation, agnotology, ontology of truth, populism, fascism, deliberate ignorance",
author = "Stephan Lewandowsky",
note = "Author Note: Revision of a contribution to the Ernst Str{\"u}ngmann Forum on Deliberate Ignorance, 17–22 March 2019, Frankfurt, Germany. Do not cite or circulate without permission. I thank Kent Peacock, James Ladyman, Ralph Hertwig, Gordon Brown, Anastasia Kozyreva, and the participants of the Str{\"u}ngmann Forum for comments on an earlier draft. Author{\textquoteright}s personal web page: http://www.cogsciwa.com. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Stephan Lewandowsky, School of Psychological Science, 12A Priory Road, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TU, U.K. E-mail: stephan.lewandowsky@bristol.ac.uk ",
year = "2020",
language = "English",
volume = "29",
series = "Str{\"u}ngmann Forum Reports",
publisher = "Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Press",
editor = "Lupp, {J R}",
booktitle = "Deliberate ignorance: Choosing not to know",
address = "United States",

}

RIS - suitable for import to EndNote

TY - CHAP

T1 - Wilful construction of ignorance

T2 - A tale of two ontologies

AU - Lewandowsky, Stephan

N1 - Author Note: Revision of a contribution to the Ernst Strüngmann Forum on Deliberate Ignorance, 17–22 March 2019, Frankfurt, Germany. Do not cite or circulate without permission. I thank Kent Peacock, James Ladyman, Ralph Hertwig, Gordon Brown, Anastasia Kozyreva, and the participants of the Strüngmann Forum for comments on an earlier draft. Author’s personal web page: http://www.cogsciwa.com. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Stephan Lewandowsky, School of Psychological Science, 12A Priory Road, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TU, U.K. E-mail: stephan.lewandowsky@bristol.ac.uk

PY - 2020

Y1 - 2020

N2 - From Iraq’s mythical weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to Donald Trump’s record of more than 10 daily false or misleading statements, deception and false claims have been an integral part of political discourse for quite some time. Nonetheless, Trump’s blatant disregard for the truth has given rise to much concern about the dawn of a “post-truth” era. I argue that there are striking differences between the tacit ontologies of truth underlying the WMD deception and Donald Trump’s false claims, respectively. Whereas the WMD campaign contested a single reality, Trump’s false claims often repudiate the very idea of external truths that exist independently of anyone’s opinion. I consider this ontological shift from realism to extreme constructivism to be the most critical aspect of the current “post-truth” malaise. I note that an extreme constructivist “truth” has formed an essential aspect of historical fascism and Nazism, as well as of contemporary populist movements, and that those conceptions are incompatible with liberal-democratic norms of truth-seeking. I conclude by pointing toward potential solutions of the “post-truth” crisis.

AB - From Iraq’s mythical weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to Donald Trump’s record of more than 10 daily false or misleading statements, deception and false claims have been an integral part of political discourse for quite some time. Nonetheless, Trump’s blatant disregard for the truth has given rise to much concern about the dawn of a “post-truth” era. I argue that there are striking differences between the tacit ontologies of truth underlying the WMD deception and Donald Trump’s false claims, respectively. Whereas the WMD campaign contested a single reality, Trump’s false claims often repudiate the very idea of external truths that exist independently of anyone’s opinion. I consider this ontological shift from realism to extreme constructivism to be the most critical aspect of the current “post-truth” malaise. I note that an extreme constructivist “truth” has formed an essential aspect of historical fascism and Nazism, as well as of contemporary populist movements, and that those conceptions are incompatible with liberal-democratic norms of truth-seeking. I conclude by pointing toward potential solutions of the “post-truth” crisis.

KW - Misinformation

KW - agnotology

KW - ontology of truth

KW - populism

KW - fascism

KW - deliberate ignorance

M3 - Chapter in a report

VL - 29

T3 - Strüngmann Forum Reports

BT - Deliberate ignorance: Choosing not to know

A2 - Lupp, J R

PB - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Press

ER -