Coady calls for an 'applied turn' in epistemology, a process he likens to the applied turn that transformed the study of ethics in the early 1970s. Subjects dealt with include:
- Experts-how can we recognize them? And when should we trust them?
- Rumors-should they ever be believed? And can they, in fact, be a source of knowledge?
- Conspiracy theories-when, if ever, should they be believed, and can they be known to be true?
- The blogosphere-how does it compare with traditional media as a source of knowledge and justified belief?
Timely, thought provoking, and controversial, What to Believe Now offers a wealth of insights into a branch of philosophy of growing importance-and increasing relevance-in the twenty-first century.
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About the Author
David Coady is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Tasmania, Australia. He has published widely on topics in applied epistemology, including expertise, conspiracy theory, rumor, and the blogosphere. He is the editor of Conspiracy Theories: The Philosophical Debate (2006) and he has also published on metaphysics, the philosophy of law, police ethics, the ethics of horror films, and the ethics of cricket.
Table of ContentsPreface ix
1 Introduction 1
2 Experts and the Laity 27
3 Epistemic Democracy 59
4 Rumors and Rumor-Mongers 86
5 Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracy Theorists 110
6 The Blogosphere and the Conventional Media 138
7 Conclusion 169
Postscript: Government Surveillance and Privacy 175
What People are Saying About This
'What should we believe?' This is one of the core questions ofepistemology, but it is often discussed in the abstract as if itwere a question of purely theoretical interest arising for agentsliving nowhere and nowhen. David Coady takes epistemology out ofthe study and into the streets by asking what we (as citizens of a more-or-lessdemocratic societies) should believe now (in theearly 21st Century) about matters of political pith and moment. A fine book, a fun book, and a book which might actually do abit of good.
Charles Pigden, University of Otago
This original and accessible work advances applied epistemologywith vivid examples, and provocative and balanced commentary. Aterrific stimulus to reflection, discussion, and improved criticalthought about everyday issues.
Jonathan Adler, The City University of New York