PHIL 401 D: Advanced Topics in Philosophy

Conspiracy Theories, Propaganda, and Epistemic Vice: The Philosophy of Manipulation and Misinformation

Meeting Time: 
WF 12:30pm - 2:20pm
Location: 
* *
SLN: 
18927
Instructor:
Ian Schnee
Ian Schnee

Syllabus Description:

Conspiracy Theories, Propaganda, and Epistemic Vice: The Philosophy of Manipulation and Misinformation

Do conspiracy theories appeal to our epistemic vices? Is it ever rational to believe a conspiracy theory? Are conspiracy theories forms of political propaganda? What is propaganda and is it always manipulative? How are we easily influenced and manipulated by technology, media and misinformation? Course topics will include the epistemology and ethics of disagreement, ethical and aesthetic frameworks for analyzing propaganda, philosophical views of conspiracy theories, and the ethics of persuasive technology.

Course Structure

For Winter 2021, this course will be fully remote. Class will be held synchronously via Zoom. 

Learning Objectives

  • Evaluating moral and aesthetic features of propaganda films
  • Analyzing ethical dimensions of persuasive technologies, such as social media
  • Applying philosophical and psychological views of conspiracy theories to contemporary conspiracies
  • Creating strategies, based on philosophical and psychological work on intellectual vices, for recognizing and combating misinformation
  • Providing and receiving feedback from one’s peers on how to effectively communicate philosophical ideas
  • Collaborating with one’s peers to develop publicly accessible materials for understanding manipulation and misinformation.

Additional Details:

Course Description: Do conspiracy theories appeal to our epistemic vices? Is it ever rational to believe a conspiracy theory? Are conspiracy theories forms of political propaganda? What is propaganda and is it always manipulative? How are we easily influenced and manipulated by technology, media and misinformation? Course topics will include the epistemology and ethics of disagreement, ethical and aesthetic frameworks for analyzing propaganda, philosophical views of conspiracy theories, and the ethics of persuasive technology.

Catalog Description: 
A study of philosophical topics at the advanced level. Topics vary.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
October 19, 2020 - 9:15pm