Worried About lies and Fake News? Start with the Mainstream Media

A week on from the earthquake of Donald Trump’s election victory attention is being drawn to the influence of “fake news” on social media amid speculation that stories such as Pope Francis endorsing the Republican candidate or opponent Hillary Clinton murdering an FBI agent might have influenced the result. Both Google and Facebook  bosses have had to make public statements on how they are tackling the phenomena and play down the influence such stories might have had on the outcome of the election. Meanwhile Trump himself has been reining in on some of his pre-election pledges, notably the building of … Continue reading

Introducing pragmatism

Pragmatism is an important contribution to philosophy, with its roots in the work of three American thinkers of the late 19th/early 20th century: C.S. Peirce, William James and John Dewey. Set against the long history of western philosophy, this makes it a relatively recent phenomenon, although like most things that seem new in philosophy, it has many continuities with what went before. Recent it may be, but it already constitutes a kind of tradition, with competing camps, radicals, apostates and reformers. Two leading contemporary figures in that tradition are Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam, philosophers who, as we shall see, … Continue reading