The rates of acceptance of fake news, alternative facts and conspiracy theories are at alarmingly high levels. In a study published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology in 2021, 22% of the Americans surveyed agreed that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by corrupt scientists and politicians, 30% agreed that the dangers of vaccines are being hidden by the medical establishment, and 43% agreed that there is a ‘deep state’ that operates in secret and without oversight.
The prevalence of such beliefs is a significant problem for professionals and professional organisations, especially given that many of these beliefs are about professionals. So, what can professionals and professional organisations do to fight back against misinformation and trust erosion?
In collaboration with the Future of the Professions Research Group at Charles Sturt University (CSU), we are delighted to announce our next Round Table on 29 September 2022 featuring an expert panel of academics who will take up this practical challenge, as they discuss, dissect and engage in meaningful discourse on the fascinating, yet incredibly factual issues of fake news, misinformation and the erosion of trust.
Introducing our Expert Panel
Professor Stephen Clarke
Steve Clarke is Professor of Philosophy in the School of Social Work and Arts and lead researcher in the Future of the Professions Research Group at Charles Sturt University, and Senior Research Associate of the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, and the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He works on a broad range of topics in philosophy. Recent publications include Clarke, S. (2020). ‘Huckleberry Finn’s Conscience: Reckoning with the Evasion’, Journal of Ethics, 24 (4), pp. 485-508, Clarke, S., Zohny, H. and Savulescu, J. (eds.) (2021). Rethinking Moral Status. Oxford University Press, and Clarke, S. (forthcoming). ‘Is There a New Conspiracism?’, Social Epistemology, DOI: 10.1080/02691728.2022.2057369.
Dr Suzie Gibson
Dr Suzie Gibson is the Senior Lecturer in English Literature, School of Social Work and Arts at Charles Sturt University. Her research analyses the resonances and differences between texts, disciplines, and writers. Trained in feminist and critical theory, and her publishing covers a variety of textual forms and themes, including traditional and experimental forms of literature and philosophy. She is also interested in the narrative power of conspiracy theory and was a guest speaker at Western Sydney University’s ‘Writing and Society Research Centre’ where she discussed this phenomenon.
M R. X. Dentith
M R. X. Dentith is an Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Center for International Philosophy at Beijing Normal University in Zhuhai, and a member of the School of Philosophy at Beijing Normal University. They are a philosopher interested in the epistemology of conspiracy theories, fake news, and secrecy. They are the author of The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), the editor of Taking Conspiracy Theories Seriously (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018), and is currently putting together a special issue of Social Epistemology focussing on recent, novel philosophical work on conspiracy theory.
Patrick is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Deakin University, with research interests including personal identity, death, moral psychology, and the thought of 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. His most recent book is Digital Souls (Bloomsbury, 2021) exploring issues of death and remembrance in the digital age. Patrick is also a regular contributor to The Conversation, New Philosopher, and a media commentator and radio documentary producer on philosophical issues.
We would like to thank the Future of the Professions Research Group at Charles Sturt University for their assistance with this Round Table. Led by Professor Stephen Clarke, the group researches and publishes on the role of the professions in modern society. Focal areas are Practical & Applied Ethics, Environmental & Social Justice as well as Library & Information Sciences.