CFP: CFP: MANCEPT 2024: Truth in Democracy: From Misinformation to AI

Submission deadline: June 3, 2024

Conference date(s):
September 4, 2024 - September 6, 2024

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Manchester Centre for Political Theory (MANCEPT), University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

Topic areas


Truth in Democracy: From Misinformation to AI MANCEPT Workshops in Political Theory, University of Manchester, 4th-6th September 2024.

Keynote Speaker: Prof. Kai Spiekermann (London School of Economics)

Truth and politics have long been considered on rather bad terms with each other (Arendt 2006). Many scholars have opposed making recourse to truth to adjudicate political disputes on the basis that it would pave the way for oppression. Indeed, they take its singularity to be hostile to the fact of pluralism, whereas in politics we should do without truth (Rawls 1996) and adopt epistemic abstinence instead. On the other hand, with the so-called “epistemic turn”, the value of truth in politics, and in democracy in particular, has been acknowledged (Habermas 1984; 2003; Estlund 1993; Misak 2000; Anderson 2006; Peter 2008; Landemore 2013; 2017). According to these authors, not only are truth and politics compatible, but politics without truth does not make sense: there are better and worse answers to several political questions and the fact that we spend time discussing is a clear sign of it. Ultimately, truth has a democratic value, and democratic societies have an interest in citizens holding true beliefs (Lynch 2021; forthcoming). In other words, these proposals share a key metapolitical view that has been labelled “political cognitivism”, according to which political propositions are truth-apt (Landemore 2013; Peter 2023).

With the advent of the so-called “post-truth era”, public discourse has been riddled with misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories characterised by the persistent denial of factual truths and a claim for the priority of opinions over facts (Nichols 2017; Ferrari & Moruzzi 2020; Hannon 2021). Indeed, the 2024 World Economic Forum's Global Risks Perception Survey highlights “misinformation” and “disinformation” as the most pressing near-term risks, exacerbated by artificial intelligence and social media technologies. The confluence of technology-driven challenges underscores the perils and opportunities of progress within the digital age: while AI and algorithms offer transformative potential for enhancing democratic engagement and public discourse, they also pose substantial risks to the integrity of these very processes. Consequently, the interest in the role of truth in politics has become even stronger. Indeed, the spread of these threats raises several questions about the role and value of truth in politics, aswell as doubts about the actual effectiveness of democracy in addressing these dangers.

In sum, from the contested relationship between truth and politics, many questions arise, and many issues need further investigation: from the existence and nature of an alleged “political truth”, to its role in politics in general, or, more specifically, in a democratic setting. These questions in turn require reflection on the nature of expertise, trust, and testimony, and further thought about grounding problems in political theory. At the same time, the complexity and breadth of these issues may necessitate an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from computer science, law, philosophy, and political science among other areas. In light of this, our panel aims to further investigate this broad range of pressing issues.

The panel will be devoted to investigating this set of issues. It will welcome contributions on, but not limited to, the following questions: 

  • What is the role of truth in politics, if any?
  • Does truth have a democratic value?
  • What challenges do we face in acquiring true beliefs? 
  • Do we have a duty to tell the truth in public discourse?
  • How do true and false beliefs spread in an epistemic network?
  • What kinds of social-epistemic structures best facilitate true beliefs?
  • What are the implications of AI and social networks for truth and democracy?

We encourage the participation of researchers at all career stages. If you would like to participate, please send an abstract of no more than 500 words suitable for a 30-minutes presentation (followed by 20 minutes Q&A) by 3rd June 2024 to the following emails: 

Abstracts must be anonymised and prepared for blind review.

Selected speakers will be notified shortly thereafter, in time for eligible participants to apply for a fee waiver bursary. The deadline for bursary applications is June 28th, and successful applicants will be informed by July 11th. Only people accepted to present on a panel should apply for bursaries. In order to apply for a bursary, please send a few lines outlining your financial situation to the Mancept Workshop organisers ([email protected]). Late bursary applications will not be accepted.

Attending at the workshops requires registration for everyone, presenters included. Registration opens in May. The fees for the MANCEPT workshops this year are:

  • Academics: £295
  • PG: £165
  • Conference Dinner (Academics): £40
  • Conference Dinner (PG): £25

All panels will take place in person at The University of Manchester, in the Arthur Lewis Building and Humanities Bridgeford Street buildings from 4th to 6th September 2024.    For more information about the MANCEPT Workshops, please visit their webpage: 

For more information about the panel “Truth in Democracy: From Misinformation to AI”, please email the organisers at one of the following addresses:

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