Institutions of epistemic vigilance: the case of the newspaper press

Social Epistemology:1-16 (forthcoming)
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Abstract
Can people efficiently navigate the modern communication environment, and if yes, how? We hypothesize that in addition to psychological capacities of epistemic vigilance, which evaluate the epistemic value of communicated information, some social institutions have evolved for the same function. Certain newspapers for instance, implement processes, distributed among several experts and tools, whose function is to curate information. We analyze how information curation is done at the institutional level and what challenges it meets. We also investigate what factors favor the cultural evolution of institutions of epistemic vigilance: these include people’s preference for accurate and reliable information and their ability to assess communicated information in view of the source’s epistemic authority; but also contingent historical factors that make it worth—or not—to contribute to the maintenance of institutions of epistemic vigilance. We conclude the paper by considering the challenges and vulnerabilities of these institutions in the Digital Age.
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First archival date: 2022-03-14
Latest version: 2 (2022-03-18)
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