Who’s afraid of Post-Truth?
Lecture by Steve Fuller
As fake news and alternative facts spread, many have concluded that truth is no longer held in respect. Today, it seems, anything goes. But is there cause for concern? If so, for what, exactly?
There is a tendency to see «post-truth» disparagingly as the result of populist anti-intellectualism. Some would go further and dismiss «post-truth» as simply a temporary turn in fortunes for the academics and other elites who have been shown wanting as a result of the Brexit vote and Trump’s election. I believe that both assessments of the post-truth condition are wrong. Drawing on my latest book, Post Truth: Knowledge as a Power Game, I shall argue that regardless of what happens to Brexit or Trump, the post-truth condition is here to stay – and, in a certain sense, has always been with us. In particular, we should see our epistemic predicament as part of the growth pains of the democratisation of knowledge, an inevitable consequence of which is the downgrading of expert, including academic judgement.
About the lecture
With the blatant disregard for fact, science, and expertise that marked both Brexit and the 2016 U.S. presidential election many have been lead to think that we have now entered the age of post-truth. As if to emphasize the point, Oxford Dictionaries in 2016 made post-truth their word of the year – giving voice to widespread concerns that truth and facts were now being washed away by a wave of populism.
However, in his recent book, Post-Truth: Knowledge as a Power Game, acclaimed sociologist Steve Fuller suggests that the supposed novelty of the post-truth condition is a misunderstanding, and nothing much to worry about. Can our current predicament be taken as a positive sign of the democratisation of knowledge?
The FORSK-KOMM Lecture
Fuller will visit Norway to give the FORSK-KOMM Lecture, the first installation of what will be an annual public lecture on the relation between science and society.