Month: March 2016

In the NYT “Googling Is Believing: Trumping the Informed Citizen” by UCHI Director Michael P. Lynch.


Googling Is Believing: Trumping the Informed Citizen

About a week before he used the national political stage to ask viewers to think about Donald Trump’s “finger” size, Marco Rubio told the audience during another recent Republican presidential debate to Google “Donald Trump and Polish workers.” They did.

The worry is no longer about who controls content. It is about who controls the flow of that content.

Rubio wanted voters to see news stories about Trump illegally hiring undocumented Polish workers more than 35 years ago to demolish a building to make way for Trump Tower. Searches for those terms, and the fraudulent “Trump University,” shot way up. It was like a public version of the now ubiquitous phenomenon of everyone whipping out smartphones to verify a disputed fact at a party or meeting. Not that it did much good in this case; as numerous commentators have noted, Trump and many of his supporters don’t seem particularly worried about minor annoyances like “facts.” (For the record, PolitiFact, which checks the veracity of politicians’ statements, judged Rubio’s charge to be “half true.”)

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Free lecture series will examine how technology influences morality.

Robert Talisse (Vanderbilt University)

“The same technology that enables people on opposite sides of the world to engage in real time face-to-face communication also enables new possibilities for the collection of personal data, new ways for privacy to be breached, and new avenues for geographically dispersed conspirators to organize and take action, said Robert Talisse, the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

These are some of the new, emerging or overlooked moral issues speakers will discuss this spring during the annual Berry Lectures in Public Philosophy.

The three Berry Lectures will be held in 114 Furman Hall and are free and open to the public.

Technology has shrunk the world, but has it made it better?

Michael Lynch (University of Connecticut)

Michael Lynch, professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, will speak 7 p.m. Friday, March 18, on “Knowledge in the Age of Big Data.”

Leif Wenar, chair of philosophy and law at King’s College in London, will speak 7 p.m. Friday, March 25, on “Blood Oil.”

Cheryl Misak, professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto, and James Jackson, assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, will lead “Delirium in the ICU: A Discussion,” 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7.

The Berry Lecture Series in Public Philosophy began in 1988, funded by John and Shirley Lachs, Alan Berry and Kendall Berry. In addition to the annual lecture, the Berry Fund finances travel for graduate philosophy students and awards annual prizes for outstanding service, prospectuses and publications.

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