Our Approach to Misinformation Analysis: Logical Atomism

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At Avram Turing we use a unique approach to online misinformation analysis. Our aim is the help clarify the meaning of online content we analyze. We do not place a judgment on the content and we do not recommend content: we neither condemn nor endorse. Our approach could be described as ‘centrist’ or non-partisan. We emphasize facts but also respect freedom of speech online.

Technically, our approach is based on ‘logical atomism’ a philosophical approach that is part of the ‘analytic’ school of philosophy. Logical atomism was invented by Bertrand Russell in the early twentieth century but popularized by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his short tract titled Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (TL-P) published in 1921. The emphasis in the TL-P is the clarification of thought — making clear was is expressed by a person. According to Wittgenstein, what can be stated at all can be stated clearly. The TL-P  declares that the real world is made up of facts. Utterances can be broken down into propositions which express meaning. Propositions ‘picture the world’ and can be further broken down into the elementary basic forms: logical atoms. The TL-P also reveals that certain things cannot be described by words: they are unsayable, mystical. An example of the ‘unsayable’ or unanalyzable is religious belief.

So in our work, we clarify content by breaking them down and labeling them to describe meaning. We do not analyze certain content such as ‘conspiracy theories’ which we regard as having some mystical elements. Adherents of such theories have an almost religious belief in them. We simply label such content as ‘theory’. But we also use the ‘harm principle’ in our analysis: content can be labeled as ‘harmful’. By the end of our analysis (fact-check/clarification of the logic or lack of in the content/labeling) we should have brought light to the content and helped clarify its true meaning by our Wittgensteinian approach.

 

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