Deceit and Self-Deception. How We Should Address Fake News and Other Cognitive Failures of the Democratic Public.


Ente finanziatore
PRIN 2017
200.600 €

Dipartimenti e Centri



Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici


Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza e Scienze Politiche, Economiche e Sociali


Componenti gruppo di lavoro

Anna Elisabetta Galeotti
Cristina Meini
Luca Savarino
Gianluigi Bulsei
Margherita Benzi
Marco Novarese

Durata progetto

Data inizio progetto
Data fine progetto

The worry about the production and dissemination of misinformation and fake data is widespread in democratic societies, so much so that a number of problematic political events and processes are seen as the consequences of citizens’ resulting distorted beliefs.

From Brexit to Trump’s election in the US, from the rejection of refugees to the objection to vaccines across Europe: all these are taken as instances of the effect of distorted information on citizens’ behavior and attitudes.

This project aims to offer the first comprehensive typology and philosophical analysis of the many cognitive failures, hastily grouped under the label “fake news”, of the democratic public and a normative assessment of the different institutional responses that have been developed to tackle them. Accordingly, this project aims at:

  1. a critical analysis of the cognitive traps affecting democratic life;
  2. a careful normative assessment of the proposed suggestions to address the issue, questioning their potential risk of undermining democratic principles and values as much as the cognitive distortions which the suggestions are supposed to mend;
  3. a normative consideration of cognitive failures and of possible remedial cognitive virtues from the viewpoint of democratic ethics.

Other partners alongside UPO in this project:

Università of Pavia
Università of Genova
Luiss - Guido Carli of Roma