DTA

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Tesi etd-09202019-105247

Type of thesis
Perfezionamento
Author
IHLE, LAURA HAABER
URN
etd-09202019-105247
Title
The Rise of Viral Epistemology
Structure
SPS/01
Course
SCIENZE POLITICHE - PHD in Human Rights and Global Politics: Legal, Philosophical, and Economic Challenges
Committee
Membro Prof. COLLIGNON, STEFAN
Presidente Prof. BLACKBURN, PATRICK
Membro HENDRICKS, VINCENT FELLA
Keywords
  • AI
  • epistemology
  • Internet
  • political science
  • social epistemology
  • social media
  • technology
  • viral epistemology
Exam session start date
;
Availability
parziale
Abstract
This PhD thesis is concerned with the emerging contours of a current epistemic shift, which can be described as a shift towards viral epistemology. Viral epistemology denotes a set of epistemic norms and practices in which truth and epistemic justification are ascribed very low authority. Furthermore, viral epistemology is characterized by a rechanneling and re-ascribing of that authority to a set of pragmatic attributes, that have not earlier been understood as premises for knowledge: Intimacy, local coherence, affective identification and emotional resonance make up the new standards by which knowledge claims are evaluated and gain authority. Viral epistemology is immune to factual claims, not because they are not recognized as such, but because in the epistemic ideal that rises from the practice, truth is simply not very important. The objective of this thesis is to examine what viral epistemology is, whether it can in fact be understood as a new epistemic norm, how and why it is manifesting and what the possible consequences of its manifestation are. On that background, the thesis starts out by identifying and describing the phenomena that constitute the symptoms of the epistemic shift towards viral epistemology, based on a range of examples. It then proceeds to draw out the general characteristics of viral epistemology, based on those examples. This is followed by some theoretical reflections regarding the nature of truth and knowledge, in order to establish a reasonable theoretical foundation from which to discuss viral epistemology as an epistemic shift. The second part of the thesis entails a change in focus, as attention is turned towards a set of rising technologies that constitute the backdrop against which we enact and reenact many of our epistemic norms. The objective is to establish whether there is any connection between the relatively recent emergence of those technologies and the rise of viral epistemology. Finally, the study concludes that the (epistemic) norms that are ascribed authority in viral epistemology are the same (epistemic) norms that are ascribed authority through a number of technologically enabled environments that have come to host and structure a large part of public discourse.
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