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  1. Conspiracy Theories Are Not Beliefs.Julia Duetz - 2022 - Erkenntnis.
    Napolitano (2021) argues that the Minimalist Account of conspiracy theories—i.e., which defines conspiracy theories as explanations, or theories, about conspiracies—should be rejected. Instead, she proposes to define conspiracy theories as a certain kind of belief—i.e., an evidentially self-insulated belief in a conspiracy. Napolitano argues that her account should be favored over the Minimalist Account based on two considerations: ordinary language intuitions and theoretical fruitfulness. I show how Napolitano’s account fails its own purposes with respect to these two considerations and so (...)
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  • Playfulness Versus Epistemic Traps.C. Thi Nguyen - 2022 - In Mark Alfano, Colin Klein & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), Social Virtue Epistemology. Routledge.
    What is the value of intellectual playfulness? Traditional characterizations of the ideal thinker often leave out playfulness; the ideal inquirer is supposed to be sober, careful, and conscientiousness. But elsewhere we find another ideal: the laughing sage, the playful thinker. These are models of intellectual playfulness. Intellectual playfulness, I suggest, is the disposition to try out alternate belief systems for fun – to try on radically different perspectives for the sheer pleasure of it. But what would the cog-nitive value be (...)
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  • Do Conspiracies Tend to Fail? Philosophical Reflections on a Poorly Supported Academic Meme.Kurtis Hagen - forthcoming - Episteme:1-20.
    Critics of conspiracy theories often charge that such theories are implausible because conspiracies of the kind they allege tend to fail. Thus, according to these critics, conspiracy theories that have been around for a while would have been, in all likelihood, already exposed if they had been real. So, they reason, they probably are not. In this article, I maintain that the arguments in support of this view are unconvincing. I do so by examining a list of four sources recently (...)
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  • Suspicious conspiracy theories.M. R. X. Dentith - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-14.
    Conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists have been accused of a great many sins, but are the conspiracy theories conspiracy theorists believe epistemically problematic? Well, according to some recent work, yes, they are. Yet a number of other philosophers like Brian L. Keeley, Charles Pigden, Kurtis Hagen, Lee Basham, and the like have argued ‘No!’ I will argue that there are features of certain conspiracy theories which license suspicion of such theories. I will also argue that these features only license a (...)
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  • Can You Keep a Secret? BS Conspiracy Theories and the Argument From Loose Lips.Ryan Ross - forthcoming - Episteme:1-20.
    According to an argument that I will call the argument from loose lips, we can safely reject certain notorious conspiracy theories because they posit conspiracies that would be nearly impossible to keep secret. I distinguish between three versions of this argument: the epistemic argument, the alethic argument, and the statistical argument. I, then, discuss several limitations of the argument from loose lips. The first limitation is that only the statistical argument can be applied to new conspiracy theories. The second limitation (...)
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  • Online Misinformation and “Phantom Patterns”: Epistemic Exploitation in the Era of Big Data.Megan Fritts & Frank Cabrera - 2022 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 60 (1):57-87.
    In this paper, we examine how the availability of massive quantities of data i.e., the “Big Data” phenomenon, contributes to the creation, spread, and harms of online misinformation. Specifically, we argue that a factor in the problem of online misinformation is the evolved human instinct to recognize patterns. While the pattern-recognition instinct is a crucial evolutionary adaptation, we argue that in the age of Big Data, these capacities have, unfortunately, rendered us vulnerable. Given the ways in which online media outlets (...)
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  • Believing Conspiracy Theories: A Bayesian Approach to Belief Protection.Nina Poth & Krzysztof Dolega - manuscript
    Despite the harmful impact of conspiracy theories on the public discourse, there is little agreement about their exact nature. Rather than define conspiracy theories as such, we focus on the notion of conspiracy belief. We analyse three recent proposals that identify belief in conspiracy theories as an effect of irrational reasoning. Although these views are sometimes presented as competing alternatives, they share the main commitment that conspiracy beliefs are epistemically flawed because they resist revision given disconfirming evidence. However, the three (...)
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  • Unifying Group Rationality.Matthew Kopec - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6:517-544.
    Various social epistemologists employ what seem to be rather distinct notions of group rationality. In this essay, I offer an account of group rationality that is able to unify the dominant notions present in the literature under a single framework. I argue that if we employ a teleological account of epistemic rationality, and then allow that there are many different epistemic goals that are worth pursuing for various groups and individuals, we can then see how those seemingly divergent understandings of (...)
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  • Conspiracy Theories.Jared A. Millson - 2020 - 1000wordphilosophy.Com.
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  • What is a Conspiracy Theory?M. Giulia Napolitano & Kevin Reuter - 2021 - Erkenntnis:1-28.
    In much of the current academic and public discussion, conspiracy theories are portrayed as a negative phenomenon, linked to misinformation, mistrust in experts and institutions, and political propaganda. Rather surprisingly, however, philosophers working on this topic have been reluctant to incorporate a negatively evaluative aspect when either analyzing or engineering the concept conspiracy theory. In this paper, we present empirical data on the nature of the concept conspiracy theory from five studies designed to test the existence, prevalence and exact form (...)
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  • The Seductions of Clarity.C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 89:227-255.
    The feeling of clarity can be dangerously seductive. It is the feeling associated with understanding things. And we use that feeling, in the rough-and-tumble of daily life, as a signal that we have investigated a matter sufficiently. The sense of clarity functions as a thought-terminating heuristic. In that case, our use of clarity creates significant cognitive vulnerability, which hostile forces can try to exploit. If an epistemic manipulator can imbue a belief system with an exaggerated sense of clarity, then they (...)
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  • Should Academics Debunk Conspiracy Theories?Kurtis Hagen - 2020 - Social Epistemology 34 (5):423-439.
    This article addresses the question, ‘Should scholars debunk conspiracy theories or stay neutral?’ It describes ‘conspiracy theories’ and two senses of ‘neutrality,’ arguing that scholars should be...
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