University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science > Do we live in a post-truth era?

Do we live in a post-truth era?

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  • UserKristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij (Birkbeck, University of London)
  • ClockThursday 19 November 2020, 15:30-17:00
  • HouseZoom.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Anna Alexandrova.

Have we entered a ‘post-truth’ era? The present paper attempts to answer this question by (a) offering an explication of the notion of ‘post-truth’ drawn from recent discussions; (b) deriving a testable implication from that explication, to the effect that we should expect to see decreasing information effects – i.e. differences between actual preferences and estimated, fully informed preferences – on central political issues over time; and then (c.) putting the relevant narrative to the test by way of counterfactual modelling, using election year data for the period of 2004–2016 from the American National Election Studies’ (ANES) Times Series Study. The implication in question turns out to be consistent with the data: at least in a US context, we do see evidence of a decrease in information effects on key, political issues – immigration, same-sex adoption and gun laws, in particular – in the period 2004 to 2016. This offers some novel, empirical evidence for the ‘post-truth’ narrative.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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