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15:00 - 17:00 13 December 2017

Fake News and Echo Chambers: the Ethics of Partisan Media Consumption


Sir Ambrose Fleming Lecture Theatre | Roberts Building (link Map)
Malet Place | London | WC1E 7JE | United Kingdom

Open to: Alumni | Public | Academic | Student
Admission: Free
Ticketing: Pre-booking essential

Speaker information

Daniel Wodak, Virginia Tech Philosophy Dept, Daniel Wodak completed bachelors degrees in philosophy and law at The University of Sydney before completing a PhD in Philosophy at Princeton University in 2016. He is now an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at Virginia Tech. Working primarily in metaethics and philosophy of law, he has published in Philosophical Studies, Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, Virginia Journal of Criminal Law, Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Race, and Philosophy Compass.

Most politically aligned citizens live in echo chambers. In an era of unprecedented access to diverse media, they consume the vast majority of their news from a handful of sources, and exhibit patterns of attraction to information that aligns with their partisan allegiances and aversion to information that challenges those partisan allegiances. This much has been confirmed empirically. But these patterns of ideologically partisan media consumption have attracted little attention in epistemology, ethics, or social and political philosophy. If we live in echo chambers, (why) should we escape them? After briefly discussing some alternative answers, I develop and defend an ecumenical argument for why we should all escape our echo chambers: diversifying the partisan alignment of the media we consume is rational, for each of us, in order to minimize the realistic risk of what I call ‘epistemic poverty’, analogously to how diversifying one’s financial investments is rational in order to avoid


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