Alternative Facts and the Post-Truth Society: Meeting the Challenge
165 University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online __ (2017, Forthcoming)
12 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2017 Last revised: 13 Mar 2017
Date Written: February 15, 2017
In the early days of 2017, the world was introduced to the concept of "alternative facts" (alt-facts), a term that has quickly became synonymous with a willingness to persevere with a particular belief either in complete ignorance of or with a total disregard for reality. The increasing incidence of alt-facts in the popular and political arena creates a critical conundrum for anyone interested in deliberative democracy, since it is unclear how rational debate can proceed if empirical evidence holds no persuasive value.
This Article adopts an interdisciplinary approach to both identify and respond to the difficulties associated with contemporary political discourse and discusses a number of important empirical studies that should be consulted by anyone seeking to understand and overcome the challenges associated with a post-truth society. In so doing, this Article hopes to provide lawyers, legislators, journalists and judges with the tools needed to address the unprecedented political, legal and communicative challenges facing the world today.
Keywords: alternative facts, post-truth society, political science, communications, psychology, unconscious bias, neuroscience, interdisciplinary, elections, deliberative democracy, rhetoric, empirical, social science, courts, legislation, media
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