Deceit and Self-Deception. How We Should Address Fake News and Other Cognitive Failures of the Democratic Public
Head: Gianfranco Pellegrino
The worry about the production and dissemination of misinformation and fake data is widespread in democratic societies, so much that a number of problematic political events and processes are seen as the consequences of citizens’ resulting distorted beliefs. From Brexit to Trump’s election in the US, from the rejection of refugees to the objection to vaccines across Europe: all these are taken as instances of the effect of distorted information on citizens’ behavior and attitudes. The project aims to offer the first complete typology and philosophical analysis of the many cognitive failures, hastily grouped under the label “fake news” and a regulatory assessment of the different institutional responses that have been developed to address them. Accordingly, this project aims at: 1) a critical analysis of the cognitive traps affecting democratic life; 2) a careful normative assessment of the proposed suggestions to address the issue, questioning their potential risk of undermining democratic principles and values as much as the cognitive distortions which the suggestions are supposed to mend; 3) a normative consideration of cognitive failures and of possible remedial cognitive virtues from the viewpoint of democratic ethics.
The Constitutional Implications of European Separatist Claims
Head: Cristina Fasone
The project’s proposal is the delivery of an updated research of the constitutional changes envisaged by the separatist claims that are deeply influencing the balance of the statehood in some European unitary states where working forms of multilevel government are currently fulfilled. The main inquiry is intended to focus on the countries (UK, Spain, Belgium, Italy) where a democratic governance pays to common constitutional principles, and where the nationalist or regional movements' quest for self-determination, usually enacted through referendums and polls, gains a huge popular support. The survey will extend to the countries in Eastern Europe where the ghost of separatism is a factor of the constitutional disestablishment of freshly established democracies and of marginalization of ethnic minorities. Another branch of the project will face the astonishing effects of the Brexit as a starting point of a somehow "macro-separatist" commitment whose consequences are likely to affect deeply the metamorphosis of the statehood outward (the EU) and inward (sub-statal constituent parts). The focus on the Brexit case will help to survey how far the rise of successful separatist campaigns are likely to drive the civil society's choice toward euro skeptic or pro-Europe orientations.