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  1. The power of second-order conspiracies.Alexios Stamatiadis-Bréhier - 2024 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (Online):1-26.
    A second-order conspiracy (SOC) is a conspiracy that aims to create (and typically also disseminate) a conspiracy theory. Second-order conspiracy theories (SOCT) are theories that explain the occurrence of a given conspiracy theory by appeal to a conspiracy. In this paper I argue that SOC and SOCT are useful and coherent concepts, while also having numerous philosophically interesting upshots (in terms of epistemology, explanation, and prediction). Secondly, I appeal to the nature of two specific kinds of second-order conspiracies to make (...)
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  • Where conspiracy theories come from, what they do, and what to do about them.Keith Raymond Harris - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Philosophers who study conspiracy theories have increasingly addressed the questions of where conspiracy theories come from, what such theories do, and what to do about them. This essay serves as a commentary on the answers to these questions offered by contributors to this special issue.
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  • Conspiracy Theorist's World and Genealogy.Nader Shoaibi - forthcoming - Social Epistemology.
    Conspiracy theories pose a serious threat to our society these days. People often dismiss conspiracy theory believers as at best gullible, or more often unintelligent. However, there are cases in which individuals end up believing conspiracy theories out of no epistemic fault of their own. In this paper, I want to offer a diagnosis of the problem by focusing on the genealogy of the conspiracy theory beliefs. Drawing on a novel interpretation of Nietzsche’s use of genealogies, I argue that the (...)
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  • Misinformation, Content Moderation, and Epistemology: Protecting Knowledge.Keith Raymond Harris - 2024 - Routledge.
    This book argues that misinformation poses a multi-faceted threat to knowledge, while arguing that some forms of content moderation risk exacerbating these threats. It proposes alternative forms of content moderation that aim to address this complexity while enhancing human epistemic agency. The proliferation of fake news, false conspiracy theories, and other forms of misinformation on the internet and especially social media is widely recognized as a threat to individual knowledge and, consequently, to collective deliberation and democracy itself. This book argues (...)
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  • Conspiracy theories, epistemic self-identity, and epistemic territory.Daniel Munro - 2024 - Synthese 203 (4):1-28.
    This paper seeks to carve out a distinctive category of conspiracy theorist, and to explore the process of becoming a conspiracy theorist of this sort. Those on whom I focus claim their beliefs trace back to simply trusting their senses and experiences in a commonsensical way, citing what they take to be authoritative firsthand evidence or observations. Certain flat Earthers, anti-vaxxers, and UFO conspiracy theorists, for example, describe their beliefs and evidence this way. I first distinguish these conspiracy theorists by (...)
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  • Extreme beliefs and Echo chambers.Finlay Malcolm & Christopher Ranalli - forthcoming - In Rik Peels & John Horgan (eds.), Mapping the Terrain of Extreme Belief and Behavior. Oxford University Press.
    Are extreme beliefs constitutive of echo chambers, or only typically caused by them? Or are many echo chambers unproblematic, amplifying relatively benign beliefs? This paper details the conceptual relations between echo chambers and extreme beliefs, showing how different conceptual choice-points in how we understand both echo chambers and extreme beliefs affects how we should evaluate, study, and engage with echo chambering groups. We also explore how our theories of extreme beliefs and echo chambers shape social scientific research and contribute in (...)
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  • What is Interesting about Conspiracy Theories?Melina Tsapos - manuscript
    It is not clear that scholars, when they use the term ‘conspiracy theory’, are in fact interested in investigating the phenomenon of conspiracy theories and belief in them as such. I consider two perspectives found in the fast-growing literature on conspiracy theories: The Faux-pas View and The Neutral View. I argue that there is a difference in scholarly motivation, or at a very minimum a difference in the sustaining motivation for the research paradigms. What the motivations are is much too (...)
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  • Towards a Conceptual Framework for Conspiracy Theory Theories.Niki Pfeifer - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (4):510-521.
    I present a conceptual framework for classifying generalist and particularist approaches to conspiracy theories (CTs). Specifically, I exploit a probabilistic version of the hexagon of opposition which allows for systematically visualising the logical relations among basic philosophical positions concerning CTs. The probabilistic interpretation can also account for positions, which make weaker claims about CTs: e.g. instead of claiming ‘every CT is suspicious’ some theorists might prefer to claim ‘most CTs are suspicious’ and then ask about logical consequences of such claims. (...)
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  • What Does It Mean for a Conspiracy Theory to Be a ‘Theory’?Julia Duetz - 2023 - Social Epistemology:1-16.
    The pejorative connotation often associated with the ordinary language meaning of “conspiracy theory” does not only stem from a conspiracy theory’s being about a conspiracy, but also from a conspiracy theory’s being regarded as a particular kind of theory. I propose to understand conspiracy theory-induced polarization in terms of disagreement about the correct epistemic evaluation of ‘theory’ in ‘conspiracy theory’. By framing the positions typical in conspiracy theory-induced polarization in this way, I aim to show that pejorative conceptions of ‘conspiracy (...)
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  • The Future of the Philosophy of Conspiracy Theory: An Introduction to the Special Issue on Conspiracy Theory Theory.M. R. X. Dentith - 2023 - Social Epistemology (4):405-412.
    Looking at the early work in the philosophy of conspiracy theory theory, I put in context the papers in this special issue on new work on conspiracy theory theory (itself the product of the 1st International Conference on the Philosophy of Conspiracy Theory held in February 2022), showing how this new generation of work not only grew out of, but is itself a novel extension of the first generation of philosophical interest in these things called ‘conspiracy theories’.
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  • Conspiracy Theories and Democratic Legitimacy.Will Mittendorf - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (4):481-493.
    Conspiracy theories are frequently described as a threat to democracy and conspiracy theorists portrayed as epistemically or morally unreasonable. If these characterizations are correct, then it may be the case that reasons stemming from conspiracy theorizing threaten the legitimizing function of democratic deliberation. In this paper, I will argue the opposite. Despite the extraordinary epistemic and morally unreasonable claims made by some conspiracy theorists, belief in conspiracy theories is guided by internal epistemic norms inherent in believing. By utilizing the insights (...)
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  • Conspiracy beliefs in the context of a comprehensive rationality assessment.Keith E. Stanovich & Maggie E. Toplak - forthcoming - Thinking and Reasoning.
    The recent intense interest in conspiratorial thinking is fuelled by the perception that belief in conspiracies is highly irrational. However, there have been few studies that have examined the associations of conspiracy belief with a comprehensive battery of rational thinking tasks that tap both epistemic and instrumental rationality. The Comprehensive Assessment of Rational Thinking (CART) provides an opportunity to do just that because one of the subtests on the CART assesses the tendency to believe false conspiracies. That subtest is in (...)
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  • Conspiracy Theory and (or as) Folk Psychology.Brian L. Keeley - 2023 - Social Epistemology 37 (4):413-422.
    One issue within conspiracy theory theory is whether, or to what extent, our central concept – – should map on to the common, lay sense of the term. Some conspiracy theory theorists insist that we use the term as everyday people use it. So, for example, if the term has a pejorative connotation in everyday parlance, then academic work on the concept should reflect that. Other conspiracy theory theorists take a more revisionist approach, arguing instead that while their use of (...)
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