Perhaps it is true that hoaxes have always existed, lies are an indispensable element of politics and life, and there is nothing new under the sun as far as “post-truth” is concerned. And, to cut it short, maybe people should simply be encouraged to pay more attention to what they read, just as they are careful about what they eat and drink. Yet in many ways post-truth is different, and its emergence sheds light on a host of issues. The author focuses on three specific topics, all equally essential: intellectuals’ responsibility towards the world, the role of technique in shaping ideas and behaviours, and the idea of democracy arising from the interaction between post-truth and “documediality” (the condition ensuing from the widespread use of the Web). The author also suggests constructive ways to address the fear that inflation of do-it-yourself truth is an inexorable or irreversible phenomenon.
Maurizio Ferraris teaches Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Turin, where he runs the Interuniversity Centre on Theoretical and Applied Ontology (Labont).