Cailin O'Connor 'The war against truth and the social dynamics of alternative facts'


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In this episode of #TheNewAbnormal, I interview Cailin O'Connor, who is an associate professor of logic and philosophy of science at the University of California. She's also the co-author of 'The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread' (published by Yale University Press). In our interview, we discuss Cailin's most recent writings on the subject of 'why we trust lies' re: the most effective misinformation starting with seeds of truth. In doing so, she explains the crucial importance of transparency and accountability, alongside her viewpoints on issues such as confirmation bias i.e. why what you believe depends on who you know; and how demonstrably false beliefs persist and spread - despite negative consequences for the people holding them. In an era where arguments rage about issues ranging from climate change (as the polar ice caps melt and forest fires burn) to the wearing of face masks (as millions have died of Covid-19), Cailin illuminates the social forces that explain the manipulation of 'false belief' and propaganda, and why we must understand both how that process works and trust the evidence, in order to fight back against misinformation.

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