ENS, salle L363, 24 rue Lhomond, 75005 Paris
The alarming spread of entirely fabricated news stories - "fake news" - during the 2016 US Presidential election is a salient example of how human reasoning often fails. How do we explain such errors? I will outline two broad perspectives on this question with different implications for understanding cognitive capacity and knowledge resistance. One argues that humans reason like good lawyers, and that cognitive sophistication increases political polarization. The other argues that humans reason like bad philosophers, and that cognitive sophistication increases accurate belief formation. I will attempt to adjudicating between these two perspectives by drawing on research from a variety of domains, and describe in detail my work on the recent phenomenon of fake news as a particularly interesting test case.