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        astute reasoning and “fake news”

gary e. davis
May 24, 2018
“Astute reasoning” is my preferred rubric for what’s normally called “critical thinking” in education. Monday, May 7, I decided to do a commentary on Stanley Fish’s NYTimes article “‘Transparency’ Is the Mother of Fake News.” It’s an article in the Times occasional series, The Stone, which is usually written by academic philosophers (for a general audience). The article is unremarkable, but the issue of fake news is immensely topical these days. At the article, I posted a comment that said in part: “...articles in The Stone deserve to be entrance points into deeper thinking.”

Also, issues of fake news provide a good opportunity for thinking “after” Habermas; more particularly: bridging aspects of lifeworld (a common focus in phenomenological philosophy of the 20th century) and systemic thinking (i.e., here: intensely Internetted sociality), which is integral to Habermas’s sense of social theory. Generally, my interest in constructively bridging notions of lifeworld and system is proximally modeled by a continuum of home page Areas: “being well,” “good thinking,” and “advancing community,” though I didn’t overtly set out here to simply apply such a continuum to thinking about fake news.

So, my initial, modest desire to do a short posting on Fish’s article became this project, composed of several sections (separate postings) which aren’t oriented by Fish’s article, though I began with key themes of his article in mind, which I’ll discuss (see Section 4).

• Section 1: expecting genuineness and discerning fakery

• Section 2: astute reasoning

• Section 3: Fake views exploit the appeal of valid drama.
• § a: “fake news”

• § b: feeling for story: dramatic appeal (value) in emotional novelty

• § c: fake views as narrative mode of fakery throughout markets

• § d: identity mirroring compels viral-ity among filter bubbles

• § e: my space, my time”: smartly defining one’s medial sphere

• § f: systemic disabling of fake views while ensuring openness 
• Section 4: Stanley Fish’s “...Mother...” article

• Section 5: furthermore
I’ve lived with the relation of the Web to our evolving sense of the public sphere nearly as long as the Web was real enough to spawn online discourse (since 1997: see “Spoon Collective,” near the bottom of this page). By 2005, the internetted public sphere seemed to have left Habermas’s generation behind.

Habermas expressed some views on internet life in 2014, which I turned into a dialogue with his interview comments, but that barely touched the challenge of understanding “the market for ideas” relative to a large-scale sense of online life.

I would enjoy rewriting that “market...” discussion relative to what we live with now. The “astute reasoning...” discussion provides a sense of how to enter into that rewriting. But I’m not going to do that soon. This project was a side trip off of my path of Project development.

    Be fair. © 2018, g. e. davis