Talk Title: Epistemic Chaos
Propaganda is all around us, and has been for a long, long time. So, it might seem like the current scare about propaganda is a bit of a moral panic. In this talk I address two questions: 1) Is propaganda inherently bad, so bad that we shouldn't engage in it? And 2) Is the problem of propaganda getting worse? I bring relevant results from cognitive science--both classic and brand new--to bear on these questions, which turn out to be intimately related. I suggest that we are in a peculiar moment, one that is truly different than any other in recent history and causes a special type of sui generis epistemic chaos. I end by discussing the even more stubborn personal version of the same public problem.