Under Pressure: Truth, Trust and Democracy

Under Pressure: Truth, Trust and Democracy
28 November 2019, 10.00am - 29 November 2019, 8.00pm
Conference / Symposium
The Macmillan Hall & The Chancellor's Hall, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Under Pressure: Truth, Trust and Democracy

A two-day conference  28-29 November 2019 in Senate House


In the furious debates surrounding the UK Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election as U.S. President, claims and counterclaims of fake news, questionable experts, and untrustworthy media have been flying around. Deep political divides are not new, but recent events have illustrated that the manipulation of facts and the difficulty of discerning legitimate sources of evidence is a significant threat to liberal democracies. Fake news once meant the maligned spreading of misinformation, but is now an accusation directed at authoritative news sources. In fact, the loss of trust and corruption public knowledge has been a deliberate political tactic designed to spur discontent and promote the interests of certain political platforms. In this context, it is crucial to bring together foundational discussions of truth, democracy, trust, and polarization.


This conference will bring together renowned scholars to discuss two broad themes. The first is “Truth and Bias in Images” (Day One) and the second is “Truth, Propaganda, and Public Discourse” (Day Two).


Speakers on Truth, Propaganda and Public Discourse will include:


Jason Stanley (Yale) Author of How Propaganda Works and How Fascism Works, Asa Wikforss (Stockholm) Author of Alternative Facts

Quassim Cassam (Warwick) Author of  Vices of the Mind and Conspiracy Theories

Sarah Churchwell (SAS) Author of Behold America

Michael Lynch (Connecticut) Author of Know-it-all-society and In Praise of Reason: Why Rationality Matter for Democracy

Peter Pomerantsev (LSE) Author of This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality and Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: the Surreal Heart of the New Russia


Speakers on Truth and Bias in Images will include:


David Freedberg  (Columbia University) Author of The Power of Images: Studies in the History and Theory of Response

Ophelia Deroy (LMU and Institute of Philosophy)

Diversity in Social Environments, Nomis Foundation

Manos Tsakiris (Warburg Institute) BIAS project, Nomis Foundation


On the evening of 28th Nov there will be panel discussion with the speakers and on the 29 Nov there will be a Special Lecture on How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley (seperate booking required).


The conference is the first in a series sponsored by The Institute of Philosophy, the AHRC and the University of Connecticut’s Future of Truth Project.


Organizers, Michael P. Lynch (Humanities Institute University of Connecticut), Michael Hannon (Nottingham) and Barry C. Smith (SAS, University of London)



Institute of Philsophy
020 7664 4865