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Reaping What Has Been Sown: The Concept of Truth and Its Sufferings

digital Reaping What Has Been Sown: The Concept of Truth and Its Sufferings
Articolo
rivista COMUNICAZIONI SOCIALI
sezione Open Access
titolo Reaping What Has Been Sown: The Concept of Truth and Its Sufferings
autori
editore Vita e Pensiero
formato Articolo | Pdf
online da 12-2017
issn 03928667 (stampa) | 18277969 (digitale)
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The topic and the concept of ‘post-truth’ has emerged very evidently in the last year, following several political events in Western countries. The topic has also been made relevant by the uses, or rather the abuses, of the Internet, where uncontrolled, fake news circulate in today’s world at top speed. What we are facing now is the result of processes that have developed during the last decades in philosophy, sociology, communication studies, and journalism studies. We can indicate four processes, working at different but intertwined levels, that have contributed to undermining the possibility of any reference to ‘truth’ or ‘reality’, or any possible relationship between them. The four processes on which this paper will focus are: 1) the post-modern approach that took hold in many areas of philosophy during the second half of the twentieth century; 2) sociological perspectives that led to constructivist approaches; 3) communication theories that fostered social construction of reality by the media; and 4) the new ways to consider journalists’ work as a construction of reality rather than a representation of reality. The emergence of these processes, which tend to weaken any reference to a concept of reality external to the media and its mechanisms in the production and circulation of meaning, has triggered some unexpected backlash such as vague notions of meaning, uncontrolled influencers, communicative bubbles, and a return to a positivist view of social reality.

keywords

Post-truth; fake news; postmodern philosophy; communication; journalism studies.

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