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Epistemic Epidemiology: Election Fraud

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While this is being written Trump and his fellows have lost 59 court cases relating to the election. It is, as always, worth noting that Trump’s kraken legal team generally have not alleged widespread fraud in their court cases—for the obvious reason that there are consequences for lying to a judge. After Fox News and other right-wing media outlets started attacking voting technology company Smartmatic, the company responded with legal notices. This resulted in a surreal event on Fox, with a news segment being aired that debunked the election fraud lies made by its own hosts. One infers that Fox lawyers know it would be a disaster if they had to go to court—again, a place where lies about election fraud can have real consequences. Forbes has a clear summary of the failed claims Trump and his fellows attempted to use to overturn the election for those who want a recap of the particular untruths. Even Trump’s own Attorney General has disagreed with him, stating that there is no widespread election fraud. The electoral college has met and what remains is Biden’s inauguration. Despite all this, Trump and his supporters still claim that there was widespread voter fraud, and that Trump won the election. Anyone who disagrees with them is dismissed as deceived or a traitor and there seems to be no evidence that will convince them that their claims are not true. This suggests the possibility of an epistemic epidemic. That is, there could be millions of people with extremely defective or even diseased belief forming systems. As with any disease, this is not a condemnation of these people—but a recognition of a serious condition that needs treatment. It is also worth considering that there is also an ethical epidemic. That is, there is a widespread moral disease or condition affecting many people. Those who are lying about the election would be suffering from an ethical rather than epistemic defect—they do not believe what they are saying but are lying to achieve some gain. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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