Long tail metaphysics: The epistemic crisis and intellectual freedom

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.



Work Title Long tail metaphysics: The epistemic crisis and intellectual freedom
Open Access
  1. Sarah Hartman-Caverly
  1. intellectual freedom
  2. epistemic crisis
  3. legitimacy crisis
  4. epistemic virtures
  5. communication ethics
  6. epistemic pluralism
  7. truth pluralism
  8. epistemic agency
  9. epistemic community
  10. collective epistemology
  11. library collections
  12. library programming
  13. information literacy
  14. media literacy
  15. long tail
  16. metaphysics
License CC BY 4.0 (Attribution)
Work Type Article
Publication Date 2021
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. 10.1177/03400352211057146
Related URLs
Deposited December 31, 2021




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Version 1

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  • Added Hartman_Caverly_IFLA_2021IFIssue_LongTailMetaphysicsEssay.pdf
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    • https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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