A conceptual analysis of fake news


In this paper, I offer a conceptual analysis of fake news. In essence, I suggest analysing this notion as a species of Frankfurtian bullshit. This construal, I argue, allows us to distinguish it from similar phenomena like bad or biased journalism and satire. First, I introduce four test cases. The first three are, intuitively, not cases of fake news, while the fourth one is. A correct conceptual analysis should, hence, exclude the first three while including the fourth. Next, I go through some factors that could explain the difference between the first three cases and the fourth one before I offer my explanation. After that, I propose an analysis of fake news and show that it matches our intuitions about the four test cases. Finally, I consider a possible objection to my proposal.

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Nikil S. Mukerji
Ludwig Maximilians Universit√§t, M√ľnchen


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