Long tail metaphysics: The epistemic crisis and intellectual freedom

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In reaction to the epistemic crisis, efforts to restrict free expression and access to information have not only failed to preserve the truth, but sometimes also suppressed it. Libraries’ commitment to intellectual freedom creates unique opportunities to deliver alternative solutions. By renewing the emphasis on intellectual freedom in core library functions like collections, education, and programming, libraries can provide the epistemic resources that patrons need amidst a broader context of distrust, manipulation, and censorship. This essay examines the epistemic crisis in the USA in light of intellectual freedom and the IFLA Statement on Libraries and Intellectual Freedom. Organized into three parts, this piece explores plurality as normative in the human condition, considers the impact of information and communications technology on free expression and the legitimacy of information institutions, and reconciles the emerging tensions by applying concepts from virtue epistemology to intellectual freedom. The essay concludes with considerations for library practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIFLA Journal
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Library and Information Sciences


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