Fake News Is the Invention of a Liar
Fueled by an highly contentious US Presidential campaign culminated in the widely unexpected success of a candidate accused to be even a pathological liar, the debate on so called “fake news” prominently surfaced on newspapers’ front pages, television news and in the academic conversation. As it often happens for huge public discourses originated around non well-defined and catchy tags, the magnitude of the debate does not necessarily results in a better understanding of the issue or in effective solutions for the problems it poses.
This panel seeks to address these shortcomings by framing the issue of “fake news” in the context of second-order cybernetics as defined by Heinz von Foerster. Radical constructivism is often seen as a driver for the wide mistrust in established institutions (and therefore Luhmanian's functionally differentiated systems of society) that prepared a fertile ground for the spread of "fake news". However, the ethical principles behind second-order cybernetics may provide a framework to overcome the ongoing process of self-segregation and aid to re-establish a much needed common ground between groups of believers supporting an increasingly diverging version of truth. The same intrinsic risk of divisiveness - pointed out by HvF - that comes with the word “truth”, is today at play in expressions such as "alternative-facts", "post-truth" and, of course, “fake news”.
Grounding on such theoretical framework, the panel thus seeks theoretical and/or empirical contributions addressing these issues.