Science, Technology and Society Seminar: STS Circle at Harvard (via Zoom)


Monday, September 13, 2021, 12:15pm to 2:00pm


Online Only

"How to Gaslight Citizens"

Attend this event via Zoom (advance registration required)


Eric Beerbohm, Professor of Government; Faculty Affiliate, Department of Philosophy, Harvard University.


Emily Neill

Co-sponsored by the Graduate School or Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

This event is online only. Please click the "Read More" link for full instructions on how to attend this seminar.


Sheila JasanoffFaculty Associate. Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School.

Remote Access Information:

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Please note: This event requires registration in advance in order to receive the meeting link and password.


Gaslighting, as an interpersonal wrong, brings its victims to doubt the sources of their evidence. This paper holds that political gaslighting, by leading citizens to hold beliefs disconnected from the available evidence, poses a distinctive threat to democratic politics. But holding “audacious beliefs”— beliefs that are ahead of the evidence — can serve as a core ingredient for democratic movements. This creates a dilemma for citizens, who must choose between two kinds of evidential policies. How can they protect themselves from the gaslighting without rendering themselves insusceptible to the mobilizing efforts central to democratic politics? Citizens, then, face a standing challenge: to remain open to the bully pulpit while vigilant against the gaslighter’s epistemic bullying.