Post-truth Reflections on Public Origins and Functions of Publishing

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This article provides a critical reflection on the role of publishing in post-truth society and politics. If publishers and scholars are to respond effectively to the challenges of the post-truth condition, they must begin by understanding its causes, its history, and its array of responses, including proposed solutions (and critiques thereof). Facing a post-truth condition, publishing must not just evolve in terms of business models, as so many have claimed since the onset of web 2.0., as they are all embedded in the communication infrastructures of attentional capitalism. Publishing must engage in social reflection and self-critique (publishing’s place in the system), regarding its relationship to education, democracy, social life, and truth. In other words, it must return to a ruthlessly self-critical reflection on the very meaning of “publish,” and “publishing.”