Post-truth versus Post-empiricism Fact checking is by now a routine feature of news coverage, with a small industry of agencies and web-sites seeking to halt the spread of lies, deception, spin, bombast and artifice that pervade modern political communication. But fact checking itself has received a rather mixed press. For some it is salvation, levering objective, non-partisan truth back in post-truth discourse. For others, fact checking cannot escape the biases of its providers and is thus seen as nothing more than a veiled continuation of politics. The paper presents a third alternative, which forgoes the search for unimpeachable facts but seeks out truth via the relentless cross-examination of the ideas underlying political discourse. Journalism can prosper under such a regime – though it might be better to ditch the ‘fact checking’ tag for the rather less catchy term ‘competitive cross-validation’.
So what…? From Realist Research to Realistic Policy and Practice
Growth in knowledge is the holy grail of all good science but has been tricky to capture conceptually. This paper tries to get a handle on growth in knowledge specifically in applied science. Here, cumulation is taken to involve knowing better in the interests of doing better. Arguments about the nature and possibilities of cumulation, as understood here, will be developed through attempts to answer to the following four linked questions:
- 1. What does knowing better mean for doing better?
- 2. By what means is knowing better to do better achieved?
- 3. What conditions are needed for knowing better to do better? and
- 4. What are the prospects of knowing better to do better in relation to the social, as opposed to physical or biological, realms?'