Scaffolding the Media for Intellectually Humble Public Discourse

The motivating insight of this project, which is generously supported by a grant from the Templeton Foundation via the University of Connecticut, is that, to the extent that we rely on (social) media to enhance our knowledge of important events, people, institutions, and issues beyond our local communities, we are vulnerable to difficult-to-detect epistemic injustices committed by the media even when we make efforts to be intellectually humble. This insight prompts the proposal’s central questions:

1) Which communication topologies best foster intellectual humility in public discourse, and which most hinder it?

2) Where between these extremes do various prominent contemporary ICT communication topologies lie?

3) How can contemporary ICT communication topologies be modified – by users, regulators, and/or ICT firms – to improve IH in public discourse?

In this project, we investigate social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, 4chan, etc.) in which discussions, debates, and diatribes about controversial topics (vaccine safety, anthropogenic climate change, violence by and against Muslims, genetically modified organisms, etc.) take place.



Delft University of Technology
Eindhoven Technical University

Project Team

Scott Cunningham
Bettina Speckman
Ignaz Rutter
Wouter Meulemans


Templeton Foundation