The course aims to use the tools of epistemology to study communicative phenomena. To this end, we will first provide an introduction to the fundamental concepts of the theory of knowledge and the fundamental aspects of the scientific method. Some issues of social epistemology will then be addressed, such as epistemological disagreement, testimony and beliefs, the epistemology of experts.
At the end of the course, students will have acquired fundamental notions of philosophy of science and some tools to conduct the methodological and epistemological analysis of the communication models developed in various disciplinary sectors (such as cognitive science, psychology, ethology, theory of games).

teacher profile | teaching materials


Nel corso di Epistemologia e Comunicazione saranno presentati alcuni strumenti teorici dell’epistemologia classica, quali la logica formale e le fallacie logiche, e dell’epistemologia sociale, quali le nozioni di vigilanza epistemica e ingiustizia epistemica. Saranno quindi discussi alcuni aspetti dell’organizzazione sociale della scienza e della sua comunicazione, quali le norme sociali che la regolano e la revisione tra pari. L’ultima parte del corso, di carattere seminariale, sarà dedicata alla lettura e commento di articoli su un tema di cogente attualità relativo all’epistemologia del digitale: lo statuto epistemologico delle immagini manipolate o generate tramite tecnologie di deepfake, e le sfide etiche che esse pongono.

Core Documentation

Core textbook:
1. Boem, F. (2021). Forme dell'argomentare e del ragionare. Le Monnier Università.

Two between:
1. Massimiano Bucchi (2002). Scienza e società: introduzione alla sociologia della scienza. Il Mulino.
2. Marco Fasoli (2019), Il benessere digitale. Il Mulino.
3. Fabio Paglieri (2020), La disinformazione felice: cosa ci insegnano le bufale. Il Mulino.
4. Emiliano Loria, Cristina Meini, Stefano Iacone (2023), Cuori complottisti. Rosenberg & Sellier.
5. Papers provided by the teacher during claasses (3 papers = 1 book).

Reference Bibliography

NB references are tentative: Papers & books on epistemology and science: • Goldman, Alvin and Cailin O’Connor, "Social Epistemology", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2021 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = . • Leonard, Nick, "Epistemological Problems of Testimony", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2021 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = . • Okasha, Samir (2006). Il primo libro di filosofia della scienza. Einaudi.Cerroni, A., & Simonella, Z. T. (2014). Sociologia della scienza: capire la scienza per capire la società contemporanea. Carocci editore. • Merton, R. K., & Bucchi, M. (2011). Scienza, religione e politica. Il Mulino. • Viola, M., Vissio, G. (2022), L’effetto San Paolo: retoriche della conversione nella religione e nella scienza. • Viola, M. (2019), La scienza dei premi Nobel per le scienze. Quaderni di Sociologia, 82, 83-93. • Gagliardi, F., & Viola, M. (2019), La regola della priorità nella scienza e la scoperta dell’Antimateria. Paradigmi, 38(3), 585-605. • Figà Talamanca, G., & Arfini, S. (2022). Through the newsfeed glass: Rethinking filter bubbles and Echo chambers. Philosophy & Technology, 35(1), 1-34. • Fasoli, M. (2021). The Overuse of Digital Technologies: Human Weaknesses, Design Strategies and Ethical Concerns. Philosophy & Technology, 34(4), 1409-1427. • Mercier, H. (2020). Not born yesterday. In Not Born Yesterday. Princeton University Press. • Strasser, B., Baudry, J., Mahr, D., Sanchez, G., & Tancoigne, E. (2019). " Citizen science"? Rethinking science and public participation. Science & Technology Studies, 32(ARTICLE), 52-76. • Ballantyne, N. (2019). Epistemic trespassing. Mind. • Fricker, M. (2007). Epistemic injustice: Power and the ethics of knowing. Oxford University Press. • Buzzell, A., & Rini, R. (2022). Doing your own research and other impossible acts of epistemic superheroism. Philosophical Psychology, 1-25. • Heesen, R., & Bright, L. K. (2021). Is peer review a good idea?. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. • Szegőfi, Á., & Heintz, C. (2022). Institutions of epistemic vigilance: The case of the newspaper press. Social Epistemology, 36(5), 613-628. Papers for the seminar on deepfakes: • Viola, M., Voto, C. (2023), Designed to abuse? Deepfakes and the non-consensual diffusion of intimate images. Synthese, 201(30), https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-022-04012-2 • Harris, K. R. (2021). Video on demand: what deepfakes do and how they harm. Synthese, 199(5-6), 13373-13391. • Fallis, D. (2021). The epistemic threat of deepfakes. Philosophy & Technology, 34(4), 623-643. • Rini, R. (2020). Deepfakes and the Epistemic Backstop. Philosopher's Imprint, 20(24). • Habgood-Coote, J. (2023). Deepfakes and the epistemic apocalypse. Synthese, 201(3), 103. • Öhman, C. (2022). The identification game: deepfakes and the epistemic limits of identity. Synthese, 200(4), 319. • Atencia-Linares, P., & Artiga, M. (2022). Deepfakes, shallow epistemic graves: On the epistemic robustness of photography and videos in the era of deepfakes. Synthèse, 200(6), 518. • Roberts, T. (2023). How to do things with deepfakes. Synthese, 201(2), 43.

Type of delivery of the course

The course includes. (a) lectures with class discussion (about 50%) (b) commentary on exercises done at home (about 10%) (c) guest speakers (about 15%) (d) during the last weeks, student presentation of papers and class discussion (about 25%)


Attendance is not mandatory but is strongly recommended.

Type of evaluation

Verification of learning is through an oral examination, which consists of two parts: (1) Boem's book; (2a) two books of the lecturer's choice, or (2b) one book of the lecturer's choice plus three articles from among those proposed by the lecturer, to be agreed with him, or (2c) six articles from among those proposed by the lecturer, to be agreed with him. Attendees are given the opportunity to discount part of the exam syllabus through activities conducted during the course. In particular, the performance of some exercises during the course may replace part (1); the preparation of a written paper and/or the presentation of a paper in class will each allow 50% of part (2) to be discounted. The written paper (min 3000 max 5000 words, Italian or English) must be submitted at least 10 days before the exam. In the case of an extension of the health emergency from COVID-19, all provisions regulating the mode of conducting teaching activities and student assessment, such as distance teaching through the University platforms; distance oral examinations through the Microsoft Teams platform will be implemented.