Discerning "truth" and "reality" have long been a central interest of philosophers. This article from New Philosopher (Australia) provides an interesting look at the contemporary nexus between truth, lying, bullsh*tting (in the words of Princeton philosopher Henry Frankfurt), and technology. Here are two brief excerpts:
'For Frankfurt, a bullshitter “is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false… He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose”. These words, first published in 2005, capture something central to the phenomenon that has come to be called fake news: the belief that emotive impact is not only the supreme test of a story, but the only metric that matters. ... The world according to the bullshitter is whatever he wishes it to be. ‘Fake news’ is whatever people he disagrees with are saying. There’s a purity to this that is almost Platonic.'
'New stories -- fake and otherwise -- exist in constant, ferocious competition for belief and engagement. In our age of information suffusion, their supply is plentiful while the attention upon which they thrive is scarce. The result: an evolutionary hothouse in which the fittest ["news" depends on clicks and eyeballs]. ... We aren’t being manipulated by master persuaders. Rather, we’re choking on mindless memes that will keep on coming – and passing their best tricks on to others – for as long as conditions remain hospitable to bullshit. ... Another philosopher with a fine eye for nonsense, Daniel Dennett, has written at length about the significance of evolutionary pressures in the cultural context. “Once the infrastructure for culture has been designed and installed,” he argues in his recent book, From Bacteria to Bach and Back, “the possibility of parasitical memes exploiting that infrastructure is more or less guaranteed.” Once you have built it, they will come: the freeloading lies, earworms, rumours, conspiracies, and panics.'
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