Nikil Mukerji

Nikil MukerjiNikil Mukerji’s academic interests are rooted in interdisciplinary and empirically informed approaches, particularly in applied and theoretical ethics, epistemology, and the philosophy of science. He is the author of the first German monograph on the Coronavirus pandemic, “Covid-19: Was in der Krise zählt” (Reclam 2020) and has contributed to the discourse on misinformation mainly through his work on fake news, bullshit, and pseudoscience (see, in particular, his open access papers “What Is Fake News?” and “Why Homoeopathy Is Pseudoscience”). He is actively involved in science communication with the German skeptics organisation GWUP.

Nikil is also a CSI fellow and GWUP’s Centre for Science and Critical Thinking co-director. He is also a member of the scientific council of the Hans-Albert Institute (HAI), where he continues promoting critical thinking and scientific inquiry.


Fake News – What is it?

What should we do about fake news? Before answering this question, we need to understand what fake news is. The talk will explore the phenomenon from a philosophical angle, arguing that the defining feature of fake news is that it is, much like pseudoscience, a form of bullshit. The bullshitter does not care whether what he says is true or false. Likewise, the fake news publisher does not care whether what she puts out as news is true or false. This conceptualisation helps distinguish fake news from related phenomena, such as flawed and biased journalism, which gives us a better understanding of what we can do about it. The presentation will examine various case studies, address potential counterarguments, and discuss the broader implications for public discourse.

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