Archives For Maureen Linker

In this Special Issue, our multinational contributors share their perspective on epistemic claims and the moral implications of how one should present them via mass media.  Though the individual responses vary, they fall under two headings: 1) New Media and Social Justice, and 2) Mass Media, Popular Science, and Bad Reporting.

The PDFs of each article give specific page numbers. Shortlink:

Please refer to: Special Issue 1: “Normative Functionalism and the Pittsburgh School” and Special Issue 2: “On the Future Direction of Social Epistemology.”

I. New Media and Social Justice

Considering Online News Comments: Are We Really So Irrational and Hate Filled?
Maureen Linker, University of Michigan-Dearborn, USA

Hashtag Feminism and Twitter Activism in India
Elizabeth Losh, University of California, San Diego, USA

II. Mass Media, Popular Science, and Bad Reporting

Science and Scientism in Popular Science Writing
Jeroen de Ridder, VU University Amsterdamm NL

From Science in the Papers to Science in the News
Carlos Elías Pérez, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, ES and Jesús Zamora Bonilla, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, ES

Free Will as an Illusion: Ethical and Epistemological Consequences of an Alleged Revolutionary Truth
Mario De Caro, Università Roma Tre and Tufts University and Andrea Lavazza, Centro Universitario Internazionale, Arezzo, Italy

Author Information: Maureen Linker, University of Michigan-Dearborn ,

Linker, Maureen. “Considering Online News Comments: Are We Really So Irrational and Hate Filled?” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 12 (2014): 1-10.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink:

keyboard Image credit: mike lietz, via flickr


Initially online comment forums seem like a good thing from the standpoint of social epistemology. They provide more opportunities to share perspectives and disseminate information on important public issues.  However, comments are typically negative, misinformed, insulting, or worse – particularly when they involve social problems (race, gender, religion, sexual orientation).  So should we conclude that most people are just incapable of reasoned debate and dialogue when it comes to these issues?  I argue that the combination of online disinhibition effect, the divisive (non-intersectional) way most of these stories are framed in the news media, the lack of opportunity to publicly express the skepticism toward our apparently post-racial, post-patriarchical society work together to encourage the vitriol in online comment sections.

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