• Post-Truth

    by Lee McIntyre
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    Post-Truth

Cambridge Forum: Lee McIntyre

presents

Fake News vs. Facts:
Living in a Post-Truth World

Date

Jun
12
Wednesday
June 12, 2019
7:00 PM

Location

First Parish Church
1446 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Cambridge Forum welcomes LEE MCINTYRE, Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University, for a discussion of his book, Post-Truth, and the culture of misinformation and "fake news." Learn more about the event here.

About Post-Truth

Are we living in a post-truth world, where "alternative facts" replace actual facts and feelings have more weight than evidence? How did we get here? In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Lee McIntyre traces the development of the post-truth phenomenon from science denial through the rise of "fake news," from our psychological blind spots to the public's retreat into "information silos."

What, exactly, is post-truth? Is it wishful thinking, political spin, mass delusion, bold-faced lying? McIntyre analyzes recent examples—claims about inauguration crowd size, crime statistics, and the popular vote—and finds that post-truth is an assertion of ideological supremacy by which its practitioners try to compel someone to believe something regardless of the evidence.

Yet post-truth didn't begin with the 2016 election; the denial of scientific facts about smoking, evolution, vaccines, and climate change offers a road map for more widespread fact denial. Add to this the wired-in cognitive biases that make us feel that our conclusions are based on good reasoning even when they are not, the decline of traditional media and the rise of social media, and the emergence of fake news as a political tool, and we have the ideal conditions for post-truth.

McIntyre also argues provocatively that the right wing borrowed from postmodernism— specifically, the idea that there is no such thing as objective truth—in its attacks on science and facts. McIntyre argues that we can fight post-truth, and that the first step in fighting post-truth is to understand it.

"This is a gem of a short treatise. Lee McIntyre's Post-Truth is a perfect counter to a problem that has erupted in our national consciousness―alternative facts. McIntyre's enumerated suggestions on how we must all be our own fact checkers in this post-truth age should be taped to the computer keyboard of every journalist, politician, and reader in America, before the next election." ―Michael Shermer, Skeptic Magazine

Lee McIntyre
Lee McIntyre

Lee McIntyre

Lee McIntyre is a Research Fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University and an Instructor in Ethics at Harvard Extension School. He is the author of Respecting Truth: Willful Ignorance in the Internet Age, Dark Ages: The Case for a Science of Human Behavior, and Laws and Explanation in the Social Sciences, as well as the co-editor of three anthologies, including Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science.

First Parish Church
1446 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, cross Mass. Ave. and look for the newsstand called Crimson Corner. Turn right and proceed north along Mass. Ave. going toward the Cambridge Common. You will pass the Harvard Coop, Bank of America, and CVS. The First Parish Church is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Church St. Please enter through the front door of the church.

Event Series: Cambridge Forum

For the past fifty years, Cambridge Forum has provided free public forums for the discussion of the issues and ideas that are shaping our world. From culture to technology, the environment to public policy, Cambridge Forum offers citizens vital information about the challenges facing contemporary society.

Forum programs, which are edited and produced for subsequent broadcast on public radio stations nation-wide, feature the nation's most noted thinkers, creators, social entrepreneurs, and leaders from the worlds of academia, business, government, media and the arts. Programs are held in Harvard Square with book sales provided by Harvard Book Store.

Learn more at cambridgeforum.org.

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