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Suspicious conspiracy theories

Synthese 200 (3):1-14 (2022)

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  1. Conspiracy Theories, Scepticism, and Non-Liberal Politics.Fred Matthews - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (5):626-636.
    There has been much interest in conspiracy theories (CTs) amongst philosophers in recent years. The aim of this paper will be to apply some of the philosophical research to issues in political theory. I will first provide an overview of some of the philosophical discussions about CTs. While acknowledging that particularism is currently the dominant position in the literature, I will contend that the ‘undue scepticism problem’, a modified version of an argument put forward by Brian Keeley, is an important (...)
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  • Why We Should Be Suspicious of Conspiracy Theories: A Novel Demarcation Problem.Maarten Boudry - 2022 - Episteme 20 (3):611-631.
    What, if anything, is wrong with conspiracy theories (CTs)? A conspiracy refers to a group of people acting in secret to achieve some nefarious goal. Given that the pages of history are full of such plots, however, why are CTs often regarded with suspicion and even disdain? According to “particularism,” the currently dominant view among philosophers, each CT should be evaluated on its own merits and the negative reputation of CTs as a class is wholly undeserved. In this paper, I (...)
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  • What is Interesting about Conspiracy Theories?Melina Tsapos - manuscript
    Considering the recent explosion of literature across disciplines on the study of conspiracy theories and conspiracy belief, the question of what is interesting about studying conspiracy theories might seem self-evident. Perhaps it is the very thing researchers are set to answer. Either way, what is not clear is that scholars, when they use the term ‘conspiracy theory’, are in fact interested in the same phenomenon; often conflating conspiracy theories with belief in conspiracy. Studying conspiracy theories before determining what we are (...)
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  • What Is a Conspiracy Theory and Why Does It Matter?Joseph E. Uscinski & Adam M. Enders - 2023 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 35 (1):148-169.
    Growing concern has been expressed that we have entered a “post-truth” era in which each of us willfully believes whatever we choose, aided and abetted by alternative and social media that spin alternative realities for boutique consumption. A prime example of the belief in alternative realities is said to be acceptance of “conspiracy theories”—a term that is often used as a pejorative to indict claims of conspiracy that are so obviously absurd that only the unhinged could believe them. The epistemological (...)
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  • Genealogical Undermining for Conspiracy Theories.Alexios Stamatiadis-Bréhier - 2023 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-23.
    In this paper I develop a genealogical approach for investigating and evaluating conspiracy theories. I argue that conspiracy theories with an epistemically problematic genealogy are (in virtue of that fact) epistemically undermined. I propose that a plausible type of candidate for such conspiracy theories involves what I call ‘second-order conspiracies’ (i.e. conspiracies that aim to create conspiracy theories). Then, I identify two examples involving such conspiracies: the antivaccination industry and the industry behind climate change denialism. After fleshing out the mechanisms (...)
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  • Normativity in studying conspiracy theory belief: Seven guidelines.Rik Peels, Nora Kindermann & Chris Ranalli - 2023 - Philosophical Psychology 36 (6):1125-1159.
    This paper aims to provide clear guidelines for researchers studying conspiracy theory belief. It examines the meta-linguistic question about how we should conceptualize 'conspiracy theory' and its relationship to the evaluative question of how we should evaluate beliefs in conspiracy theories, addressing normative issues surrounding the meaning, use, and conceptualization of ‘conspiracy theory’, as well as how these issues might impact how researchers study conspiracy theories or beliefs in them It argues that four norms, the Empirical Accuracy Norm, the Linguistic (...)
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  • Some Conspiracy Theories.M. R. X. Dentith - 2023 - Social Epistemology (4):522-534.
    A remarkable feature of the philosophical work on conspiracy theory theory has been that most philosophers agree there is nothing inherently problematic about conspiracy theories (AKA the thesis of particularism). Recent work, however, has challenged this consensus view, arguing that there really is something epistemically wrong with conspiracy theorising (AKA generalism). Are particularism and generalism incompatible? By looking at just how much particularists and generalists might have to give away to make their theoretical viewpoints compatible, I will argue that particularists (...)
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  • Why We Should Be Suspicious of Conspiracy Theories: A Novel Demarcation Problem.Maarten Boudry - 2021 - Episteme:1-21.
    What, if anything, is wrong with conspiracy theories? A conspiracy refers to a group of people acting in secret to achieve some nefarious goal. Given that the pages of history are full of such plots, however, why are CTs often regarded with suspicion and even disdain? According to “particularism,” the currently dominant view among philosophers, each CT should be evaluated on its own merits and the negative reputation of CTs as a class is wholly undeserved. In this paper, I defend (...)
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  • Does the Phrase “Conspiracy Theory” Matter?M. R. X. Dentith, Ginna Husting & Martin Orr - 2023 - Society.
    Research on conspiracy theories has proliferated since 2016, in part due to the US election of President Trump, the COVID-19 pandemic, and increasingly threatening environmental conditions. In the rush to publication given these concerning social consequences, researchers have increasingly treated as definitive a 2016 paper by Michael Wood (Political Psychology, 37(5), 695–705, 2016) that concludes that the phrase “conspiracy theory” has no negative effect upon people’s willingness to endorse a claim. We revisit Wood’s findings and its (re)uptake in the recent (...)
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