Science and Art of Simulation (SAS 2022): Trust and Disinformation

The profound detrimental effects of disinformation makes it one of the most pressing issues of our times. Disinformation not only deceives people and leads them to hold false beliefs. Rather, the thriving of disinformation raises the more fundamental problem of which sources of information can be trusted at all. By potentially challenging our relationships of trust, disinformation represents a more profound disruption of the information space. Consequently, disinformation may potentially fuel confusion or mistrust of traditional information sources. Furthermore, they may exacerbate the polarization of the public debate and thus have far-reaching damaging effects on processes of democratic decision-making.

Disinformation as such is a not a completely new phenomenon, but it has become more pressing in recent years. This is not only due to the prevalence of social media and the kind of attention economy that governs them. The causes and conditions that can be named for the proliferation of disinformation are manifold, whether technological, sociological, institutional or political.

Likewise, the discussion about adequate countermeasures against disinformation is complex and offers no simple solutions. A great part of the debate focuses on technical solutions to the problem, such as  upload filters. However, these  raise questions not only about  their practical feasibility but also about ethical and legitimacy concerns. Alternative approaches that aim to educate  news consumer‘s media literacy threaten to overburden them.

The general aim of the conference is to gain a better and more comprehensive understanding of the effects, causes and mechanism of disinformation. We also aim at discussing the various advantages and problems of possible countermeasures.


  • What is disinformation, misinformation, malinformation, malicious rumors or fake news?
  • What are the various effects of disinformation ?
  • What are the causes and conditions for the thriving of disinformation?
  • What are (in-)adequate measures against disinformation?
  • The relation between disinformation and trust: Why is disinformation (mis-)trusted? What impact may it have on our trust relationships?
  • What do we know about the history of disinformation? How do disinformation and, for example, propaganda relate to each other?
  • How can the novel technical conditions be placed in an appropriate relationship to long-evolving social-structural conditions for the success of disinformation? Do we overestimate the former and underestimate the latter? 


Timetable and abstracts are available on the conference website:

Keynote addresses

A defense of polarisation and extremism
David Coady (University of Tasmania, Australia)

Towards socio-technical interventions against misinformation
Hendrik Heuer (Harvard University, United States of America)

Algorithmic aspects of how mis/disinformation is spread, mitigated, and funded
Noah Giansiracusa (Bentley University, United States of America)

Disinformation and democracy

Democracy, misinformation, and the knowledge of non-experts
Diego Tajer (MCMP-LMU, Munich, Germany)

Reconfigurations of trust regimes: an analysis of the potential of fake news
Jörn Wiengarn, Maike Arnold (HLRS, Germany)

Trust in pictures

The visual gap between reliability and confidence in the Israeli military’s evidence production: comparative analyses of selected examples
Maayan Amir (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)

Photographic deception and trust in photographs
Zsolt Batori (Kodolanyi Janos University, Hungary)

Networks of disinformation

Ignorance in social networks: Does shape matter?
Brian Ball1, Alexandros Koliousis1, Mike Peacey2 (1New College of the Humanities, United Kingdom; 2University of Bristol, United Kingdom)

Politicization as disinformation through epistemic pollution
Casey Doyle (Binghamton University, United States of America)

The ethics of disinformation

Reposting: its linguistic and epistemic value
Neri Marsili (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain)

On the ethical normativity of trust in disinformational worlds
Laurence Lerch (University of Lucerne, Switzerland)

Epistemology of disinformation

Beyond belief: toward a non-doxastic account of disinformation
Keith Raymond Harris (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany)

Leveraging trust

Symmetrical trust, critical skills and combating disinformation
Sergei Talanker (Western Galilee College, Israel)

Trust in falsehoods: how disinformation works
Andrija Šoć (University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy, Serbia)

Fake news

Fake news war: avoiding Manicheism
Sacha Ferrari (KU Leuven, Belgium)

Beyond social media: how organizations deceive
Marco Meyer1, Chun Wei Choo2 (1University of Hamburg, Germany; 2University of Toronto, Canada)

Networks of trust

Towards an epistemic compass for the internet
Abraham Tobi (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)

Information, misinformation, disinformation and trust in scientific communication
Ramon Alvarado (University of Oregon, United States of America)

Conspiracy theories

The adaptive value of conspiracy theories and why they prevail
Marija Kušić1, Petar Nurkić2 (1Institute for Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia; 2Institute for Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia)

“Fake news” and conspiracy narratives in the context of regimes of “posttruth”: an analysis from the perspective of nihilism
Oliver Zöllner (Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart, Germany)

Countering disinformation

Targets of countermeasures against disinformation: individuals’ beliefs and groups’ beliefs
Lei Niu (University of Cologne, Germany)

Public opinion and agenda drivenness

The dilemma of voice: what we ought to do with the agenda-driven narratives?
Kristina Khutsishvili (University of Ghent, Belgium)

The philosophical contradictions of public opinion
Eric-John Russell (Universität Potsdam, Germany)


HLRS, University of Stuttgart
Nobelstraße 19
70569 Stuttgart, Germany
Room 0.439 / Rühle Saal
Location and nearby accommodations

Start date

Aug 31, 2022

End date

Sep 02, 2022

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