Why We Can't Have Our Facts Back

Engaging Science, Technology, and Society

View Publication Info
 
 
Field Value
 
Title Why We Can't Have Our Facts Back
 
Creator Marres, Noortje
 
Subject STS; democratic theory; sociology of technology
demarcation; knowledge technology; knowledge democracy; digital society; public facts
 
Description How do we make the case for “knowledge democracy” in the face of the growing influence of right-wing figures and movements that denounce experts and expertise? While the threats to knowledge posed by these movements are real, it would be a mistake to return to a classic intellectual strategy––the politics of demarcation––in the face of this danger. Examining practical proposals for combatting fake news and opinion manipulation on the Internet, namely so-called "fact-checking" tools and services, I argue that they threaten to enroll us in a problematic normative project, one that aims to re-establish a hierarchy between knowledge and its presumed opposite, non-knowledge, or anti-knowledge. I list a number of shortcomings of this strategy. Most importantly, it distracts us from the role of technology in the crisis of public evidence in today's computationally-intensive societies. Social media are a truth-less public sphere by design. A politics of demarcation also puts us at risk of forgetting a key insight from the previous century that remains valid today: knowledge democracy is a re-constructive practice and an ideal. Instead of consolidating hierarchies of knowledge through facts that derive their authority form outside the public sphere, we need to recover the central role in public life of experimental facts: statements whose truth value is unstable. The experimental validation of public knowledge must happen in the public domain.  
 
Publisher The Society for Social Studies of Science
 
Contributor
 
Date 2018-07-24
 
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion
Peer-reviewed Article
experimentalist approaches to knowledge, technology and politics
 
Format application/pdf
 
Identifier https://estsjournal.org/index.php/ests/article/view/188
10.17351/ests2018.188
 
Source Engaging Science, Technology, and Society; Vol 4 (2018); 423-443
2413-8053
 
Language eng
 
Relation https://estsjournal.org/index.php/ests/article/view/188/162
 
Coverage US, UK, NL and other places where the anti-intellectual right has recently gained ground
2003-2017

 
Rights Copyright (c) 2018 Noortje Marres
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0
 

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