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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Public Lecture - The Death of Facts

19th November 2015, 17:30 to 18:30, Dining Hall, St Cuthbert's Society, Professor Ted Gup, Emerson College and Boston College, USA

Increasingly society is moving away from the notion of readily identifiable and agreed upon facts to
one in which all information is reduced to (or elevated to) the status of evidence in support of agendas – be they political, scientific, theological, economic, academic or historical. The Information Age which was hailed for its potential to unify society is proving to be a profoundly divisive period, fragmenting society, and providing each sector and sect with access to its own set of “facts” that support their views. The pool of accepted facts shrinks and the polarization of society increases – the fault lines fed by a continual flow of purposeful information designed to bolster positions and discredit the opposition. The integrating affects of the legacy media, though much disparaged these days, was designed to address an undifferentiated mass audience with aspirations of objectivity. Facts were the food of a democracy, the nutrients upon which all decisions were to be made. In the absence of some discrete set of undisputed facts, opportunities for compromise, reconciliation, and basic governance become rare, demagoguery rises, and the bonds of civil society become increasingly strained.

This lecture is free and open to all.

Details about Professor Ted Gup

Directions to Dining Hall, St Cuthbert's Society

Map - St Cuthbert's Society is denoted as building No. 16

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.