The Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology

ISBN 9780367345907
Published April 22, 2021 by Routledge
522 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

As political discourse had been saturated with the ideas of "post-truth", "fake news", "epistemic bubbles", and "truth decay", it was no surprise that in 2017 The New Scientist declared: "Philosophers of knowledge, your time has come." Political epistemology has old roots, but is now one of the most rapidly growing and important areas of philosophy.

The Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology is an outstanding reference source to this exciting field, and the first collection of its kind. Comprising 41 chapters by an international team of contributors, it is divided into seven parts:

  • Politics and truth: historical and contemporary perspectives
  • Political disagreement and polarization
  • Fake news, propaganda, and misinformation
  • Ignorance and irrationality in politics
  • Epistemic virtues and vices in politics
  • Democracy and epistemology
  • Trust, expertise, and doubt.

Within these sections crucial issues and debates are examined, including: post-truth, disagreement and relativism, epistemic networks, fake news, echo chambers, propaganda, ignorance, irrationality, political polarization, virtues and vices in public debate, epistocracy, expertise, misinformation, trust, and digital democracy, as well as the views of Plato, Aristotle, Mòzǐ, medieval Islamic philosophers, Mill, Arendt, and Rawls on truth and politics.

The Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology is essential reading for those studying political philosophy, applied and social epistemology, and politics. It is also a valuable resource for those in related disciplines such as international relations, law, political psychology, political science, communication studies, and journalism.

Table of Contents

General Introduction Michael Hannon and Jeroen de Ridder  Part 1: Politics and Truth: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives  Introduction to Part 1 Michael Hannon and Jeroen de Ridder  1. Democracy and Knowledge in Ancient Greece Tamer Nawar  2. Identifying Upward: Political Epistemology in an Early Chinese Political Theory Chris Fraser  3. Epistemology and Politics in Islamic Philosophy Tony Booth  4. Mill, Liberalism, and Epistemic Diversity Paul Kelly  5. Hannah Arendt and the Role of Truth in Politics Yasemin Sari  6. Politics, Truth, Post-truth, and Postmodernism Simon Blackburn  7. Tyranny, Tribalism, and Post-truth Politics Amanda Greene  Part 2: Political Disagreement and Polarization  Introduction to Part 2 Michael Hannon and Jeroen de Ridder  8. The Polarization of American Politics Shanto Iyengar  9. Politics, Deep Disagreement, and Relativism J. Adam Carter  10. Epistemic Permissivism and Reasonable Pluralism Richard Rowland and Robert Mark Simpson  11. Political Disagreement: Epistemic or Civic Peers? Elizabeth Edenberg  12. Epistemic Networks and Polarization Daniel J. Singer, Patrick Grim, Aaron Bramson, Bennett Holman, Jiin Jung, and William J. Berger  13. Affective Polarization, Evidence, and Evidentialism Emily C. McWilliams  14. The Point of Political Belief Michael Hannon and Jeroen de Ridder  Part 3: Fake News, Propaganda, Misinformation  Introduction to Part 3 Michael Hannon and Jeroen de Ridder  15. What is Fake News? Axel Gelfert  16. The Cognitive Science of Fake News Neil Levy and Robert M. Ross  17. Filter Bubbles, Echo Chambers, Online Communities Hanna Kiri Gunn  18. Modelling How False Beliefs Spread Cailin O’Connor and James Owen Weatherall  19. Regulating the Spread of Online Misinformation Étienne Brown  20. Propaganda, Irrationality, and Group Agency Megan Hyska  Part 4: Ignorance and Irrationality in Politics  Introduction to Part 4 Michael Hannon and Jeroen de Ridder  21. Is Political Ignorance Rational? Ilya Somin  22. Pragmatic Encroachment and Political Ignorance Kenneth Boyd  23. Is Political Irrationality a Myth? Jeffrey Friedman  24. The Irrational Attempt to Impute Irrationality to One’s Political Opponents Keith E. Stanovich  25. Asymmetrical Irrationality: Are Only Other People Stupid? Robin McKenna  Part 5: Epistemic Virtues and Vices in Politics  Introduction to Part 5 Michael Hannon and Jeroen de Ridder  26. Epistemic Vices, Ideologies and False Consciousness Quassim Cassam  27. Engaging Closed-mindedly with your Polluted Media Feed Heather Battaly  28. Virtues and Vices in Public and Political Debate Alessandra Tanesini  29. Vices of the Privileged and Virtues of the Oppressed in Epistemic Group Dynamics José Medina  30. Epistemic Corruption and Political Institutions Ian James Kidd  Part 6: Democracy and Epistemology  Introduction to Part 6 Michael Hannon and Jeroen de Ridder  31. An Epistemic Argument for Democracy Hélène Landemore  32. In Defense of Epistocracy: Enlightened Preference Voting Jason Brennan  33. A Pragmatist’s Epistemic Argument for Democracy Robert B. Talisse  34. Epistemic Norms of Political Deliberation Fabienne Peter  35. The Epistemic Responsibilities of Citizens in a Democracy Cameron Boult  36. The Epistemic Case for Non-Electoral Forms of Democracy Alexander Guerrero  Part 7: Trust, Expertise, and Doubt  Introduction to Part 7 Michael Hannon and Jeroen de Ridder  37. The Role of Scientific Expertise in Democracy Heather Douglas  38. Experts, Public Policy and the Question of Trust Maria Baghramian and Michel Croce  39. Testimony, Deference, and Value Hallvard Lillehammer  40. The Skeptic and the Climate Change Skeptic Alex Worsnip  41. Online Trust and Distrust Mark Alfano and Emily Sullivan.  Index

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Michael Hannon is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, UK. He is author of What’s the Point of Knowledge? (2019), and is writing the forthcoming Routledge book Political Epistemology: An Introduction.

Jeroen de Ridder is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and Professor (by special appointment) of Christian Philosophy at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


"As democracies (or their citizens) struggle with populist political traumas upsetting communitarian unity/identity, this timely anthology provides critical insights into the knowledge base supporting political decisions. … Of interest to general readers and researchers in philosophy, psychology, sociology, communication, and politics. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students, faculty and professionals. General readers." - J. Gough, CHOICE