ISBN-10:
0367483084
ISBN-13:
9780367483081
Pub. Date:
Publisher:
Beyond Fake News: Finding the Truth in a World of Misinformation

Beyond Fake News: Finding the Truth in a World of Misinformation

by Justin P. McBrayer

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Overview

The world is swimming in misinformation. Conflicting messages bombard us every day with news on everything from politics and world events to investments and alternative health. The daily paper, nightly news, websites, and social media each compete for our attention and each often insist on a different version of the facts. Inevitably, we have questions:

  • Who is telling the truth?
  • How would we know?
  • How did we get here?
  • What can we do? 

Beyond Fake News answers these and other queries. It offers a technological and market-based explanation for how our informational environment became so polluted. It shows how purveyors of news often have incentives to mislead us, and how consumers of information often have incentives to be misled. And it chronicles how, as technology improves and the regulatory burdens drop, our information-scape becomes ever more littered with misinformation. Beyond Fake News argues that even when we really want the truth, our minds are built in such a way so as to be incapable of grasping many facts, and blind spots mar our view of the world. But we can do better, both as individuals and as a society. As individuals, we can improve the accuracy of our understanding of the world by knowing who to trust and recognizing our limitations. And as a society, we can take important steps to reduce the quantity and effects of misinformation.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780367483081
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 09/22/2020
Pages: 228
Sales rank: 761,385
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Justin P. McBrayer is Professor of Philosophy at Fort Lewis College, the liberal arts college for the State of Colorado. He is Executive Director for the Society of Christian Philosophers and co-editor of A Companion to the Problem of Evil (2013), Introducing Ethics (2013) and Skeptical Theism: New Essays (2014).

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xviii

Part I The Misinformation Market 1

1 Informational Litter 3

Fountains of Misinformation 5

The Catalyst of Electronic Media 13

Cheap and Easy 19

2 It's the Economy, Stupid: The Supply Side of the Misinformation Market 24

Follow the Money 25

A Pyramid of Strategies 32

3 Ignorance is Bliss: The Demand Side of the Misinformation Market 40

What You Really, Really Want 40

How Consumer Preferences Shape the News 49

Part II Why We Fall for Misinformation 59

4 Big and Little Questions 61

The Distinction 61

Prehistoric Minds 65

How Big Questions Can Get Us into Trouble 69

5 Intellectual Blind Spots 80

Hard- Wired for Success (But Only with Some Things) 80

The Citizens of Lake Wobegon: Errors of Bias 85

Rolling the Dice: Errors oj Quality 93

Part III How We Can Do Better 103

6 Building a Bridge 105

How the Academy Learned to Tackle Big Questions 105

Sorting the Signal from the Noise: Can We Trust Our Bridges? 109

Which News Is Fake? 114

7 Trusting Others 125

When Trust Goes Wrong 126

What Makes an Expert? 135

Knowing Who to Trust 140

8 Finding the Truth 148

Giving Up on Truth 148

Intellectual Virtues 153

The Rules of Engagement 156

9 Cleaning Up 164

Why Bother? 164

What Individuals Can Do 166

What Society Can Do 172

Notes 183

Annotated Bibliography 198

Works Cited 203

Index 222

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