I'm Different Online: An Account of Differences between Face-to-Face and Online Testimony
Why is Testimony important? The field of testimony is a sub-discipline of the study of epistemology, the study of how we come to know things. Existing literature on testimony mainly focuses on face-to-face interactions. However, online communications have become an integral part of our daily discourse. The purpose of this thesis is to develop an account of testimonial injustices in the context of online testimony. First I will examine cases of face-to-face epistemic injustice which result from failures of knowledge transmission in communicative acts. I will then outline cases of online epistemic injustice. This showcases differences between the kinds of epistemic injustices that can arise in online and in face-to-face contexts. My intention is to identify epistemic issues unique to online environments, with the overall objective to hold agents accountable for acts of epistemic harm, such as intentional misinformation or trolling. I will then be in a position to introduce key features of online testimony, and explain the significance of distinguishing online testimony as a space for shared knowledge from face-to-face testimony. Finally, I propose a viable framework for successful online testimony which holds agents accountable for epistemic harms.