Retweeting: its linguistic and epistemic value

Synthese 198:10457–10483 (2021)
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Abstract

This paper analyses the communicative and epistemic value of retweeting (and more generally of reposting content on social media). Against a naïve view, it argues that retweets are not acts of endorsement, motivating this diagnosis with linguistic data. Retweeting is instead modelled as a peculiar form of quotation, in which the reported content is indicated rather than reproduced. A relevance-theoretic account of the communicative import of retweeting is then developed, to spell out the complex mechanisms by which retweets achieve their communicative goals. The last section outlines the epistemic threats posed by the increasing prevalence of retweeting on social media, linking them to the low reputational, cognitive and practical costs linked to this emerging form of communication.

Author's Profile

Neri Marsili
Universitat de Barcelona

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