DescriptionWhat can we know and what should we believe about today's world? What to Believe Now: Applying Epistemology to Contemporary Issues applies the concerns and techniques of epistemology to a wide variety of contemporary issues. Questions about what we can know-and what we should believe-are first addressed through an explicit consideration of the practicalities of working these issues out at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
Coady calls for an 'applied turn' in epistemology, a process he likens to the applied turn that transformed the study of ethics in the early 1970s. Subjects dealt with include:
- Experts-how can we recognize them? And when should we trust them?
- Rumors-should they ever be believed? And can they, in fact, be a source of knowledge?
- Conspiracy theories-when, if ever, should they be believed, and can they be known to be true?
- The blogosphere-how does it compare with traditional media as a source of knowledge and justified belief?
Timely, thought provoking, and controversial, What to Believe Now offers a wealth of insights into a branch of philosophy of growing importance-and increasing relevance-in the twenty-first century.
1 Introduction 1
2 Experts and the Laity 27
3 Epistemic Democracy 59
4 Rumors and Rumor-Mongers 86
5 Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracy Theorists 110
6 The Blogosphere and the Conventional Media 138
7 Conclusion 169
Postscript: Government Surveillance and Privacy 175
“With the possible exception of some of the introductory material, however, everything in What To Believe Now is accessible without a background in epistemology. Since it addresses topics of considerable importance, it should command, if not a mass audience, then one that reaches well outside the narrow confines of academic philosophy. Those particularly likely to find it useful include political theorists, students of social networks, and perhaps some policy makers.” (Danube Law & Economics Review, 1 December 2014)
“All in all, an intelligent, accessible, and provocative book that will encourage epistemologists to examine the real-world implications of their theories.” (Philosophy in Review, 1 October 2014)
“Overall, Coady’s book is a well-organised and well-conceived piece of philosophy that constitutes a powerful case for the legitimacy of applying epistemology to contemporary issues.” (Journal of Applied Philosophy, 22 October 2013)
“This book implements an excellent idea. The idea is that applied epistemology is worth pursuing. Applied epistemology, like applied ethics, employs philosophical resources toward solving real-world problems. What To Believe Now defends provocative views… If the book encourages further work in applied epistemology, then it will have accomplished considerable good.” (Earl Conee, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 1 January 2013)“Undoubtedly, this book will interest contemporary epistemologists. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty.” (Choice, 1 November 2012)
“Since it addresses topics of considerable importance, it should command, if not a mass audience, then one that reaches well outside the narrow confines of academic philosophy. Those particularly likely to find it useful include political theorists, students of social networks, and perhaps some policy makers.” (Danny Yee's Book Reviews, 2012)