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Cognitive Distortions and

Democratic Failures:

The Impact of Fake News

on Democratic Politics


27-28 May 2021


The several forms of misinformation, inaccuracy in data processing, twisted scientific findings, hastily lumped together under the catchy label of “fake news”, have raised worries concerning their alleged impact on democratic processes. While the studies on fake news have been mainly focused on the medium (web and social media), this workshop shall instead concentrate on the supposed cognitive failures of the democratic public. Which cognitive distortions are caused by fake news and how do democratic institutions need to address them?

We hope to address these questions and foster philosophical discussions between scholars with different backgrounds (political theorists, epistemologists, psychologists) on the meaning and impact of fake news and cognitive distortions on democratic politics.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

- The meaning of fake news

- Political self-deception

- Motivated reasoning and fake news

- How fake news undermines democratic politics

- The epistemic dimensions of democracy

- Fake news and misinformation

- Social impacts of widening mistrust of scientific findings and experts


Confirmed speakers:

  • Simon Blackburn, Cambridge University

  • Lisa Bortolotti, University of Birmingham

  • Michel Croce, Lisbon University

  • Mario De Caro,  Roma 3 University

  • Massimo Leone, University of Torino

  • Tommaso Piazza, University of Pavia


Submission Details

Please send a (.odt, .doc or .docx) file containing an abstract (500 words max) and all relevant personal information (name, affiliation, and contact).

Deadline for abstract submission is 15 April 2021. Decisions will be made within two weeks. Please e-mail the abstract and contact information to:


Workshop Format

Given the current global pandemic this workshop will be held online.


Further Inquiries

Please direct any query about this call to

This workshop is part of a research project on Deceit and Self-Deception. How We Should Address Fake News and Other Cognitive Failures of the Democratic Public. 



Enrico Biale, Department of Humanities,

     University of Piemonte Orientale

Anna Elisabetta Galeotti, Department of Humanities,

     University of Piemonte Orientale

Cristina Meini, Department of Humanities,

     University of Piemonte Orientale

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