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  1. Betting on Conspiracy: A Decision Theoretic Account of the Rationality of Conspiracy Theory Belief.Melina Tsapos - 2024 - Erkenntnis 89 (2):1-19.
    The question of the rationality of conspiratorial belief ¬divides philosophers into mainly two camps. The particularists believe that each conspiracy theory ought to be examined on its own merits. The generalist, by contrast, argues that there is something inherently suspect about conspiracy theories that makes belief in them irrational. Recent empirical findings indicate that conspiratorial thinking is commonplace among ordinary people, which has naturally shifted attention to the particularists. Yet, even the particularist must agree that not all conspiracy belief is (...)
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  • Conspiracy Theories as Superstition: Today’s Mirror Image in Spinoza’s Tractatus Theologico-Politicus.Jamie van der Klaauw - 2021 - Philosophies 6 (2):39.
    The contention in this paper is that the theological-political disputes Spinoza was concerned with 350 years ago are similar to the conspiratorial disputes we experience today. The world in Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus, a political intervention in his time, serves as a “mirror image”, that is to say, it deals with the same problem we face today albeit in a different mode. Understanding our contemporary condition under the auspices of a Spinozist perspective, problems in countermeasures to the conspiratorial disputes come to (...)
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  • Do Political Convictions Infect Every Fibre of Our Being?Joseph Ulatowski & David Lumsden - forthcoming - Social Epistemology.
    1. The current political scene in many countries is populated by polarised groups with sharply contrasting loyalties and beliefs implying that there are fundamental schisms between opposing groups....
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  • Who is a Conspiracy Theorist?Melina Tsapos - 2023 - Social Epistemology 38 (4):454-463.
    The simplest and most natural definition of the term ‘conspiracy theory’ leads us to the conclusion that we are all conspiracy theorists. Yet, I claim that most of us would not self-identify as such. In this paper I call this the problem of self-identification. Since virtually everyone emerges as a conspiracy theorist, the term is essentially theoretically fruitless. It would be like defining intelligence in a way that makes everyone intelligent. This raises the problem for theoretical fruitfulness, i.e. the problem (...)
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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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  • Bayesian belief protection: A study of belief in conspiracy theories.Nina Poth & Krzysztof Dolega - 2023 - Philosophical Psychology 36 (6):1182-1207.
    Several philosophers and psychologists have characterized belief in conspiracy theories as a product of irrational reasoning. Proponents of conspiracy theories apparently resist revising their beliefs given disconfirming evidence and tend to believe in more than one conspiracy, even when the relevant beliefs are mutually inconsistent. In this paper, we bring leading views on conspiracy theoretic beliefs closer together by exploring their rationality under a probabilistic framework. We question the claim that the irrationality of conspiracy theoretic beliefs stems from an inadequate (...)
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  • Bayesian belief protection: A study of belief in conspiracy theories.Nina Poth & Krzysztof Dolega - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology.
    Several philosophers and psychologists have characterized belief in conspiracy theories as a product of irrational reasoning. Proponents of conspiracy theories apparently resist revising their beliefs given disconfirming evidence and tend to believe in more than one conspiracy, even when the relevant beliefs are mutually inconsistent. In this paper, we bring leading views on conspiracy theoretic beliefs closer together by exploring their rationality under a probabilistic framework. We question the claim that the irrationality of conspiracy theoretic beliefs stems from an inadequate (...)
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  • Special Issue on COVID-19 Collective Irrationalities: An Overview.Kengo Miyazono & Rie Iizuka - 2023 - Philosophical Psychology 36 (5):895-905.
    In the previous discussions of irrationality in philosophy and psychology, the focus has been on irrationality at the level of individuals, such as irrational reasoning, irrational judgment, irrati...
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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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  • Three Duties of Epistemic Diligence.Tim Hayward - 2019 - Journal of Social Philosophy 50 (4):536-561.
    Journal of Social Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • “Conspiracy theory”: The case for being critically receptive.Tim Hayward - 2021 - Journal of Social Philosophy 53 (2):148-167.
    Journal of Social Philosophy, Volume 53, Issue 2, Page 148-167, Summer 2022.
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  • Of tinfoil hats and thinking caps: Reasoning is more strongly related to implausible than plausible conspiracy beliefs.Michael Hattersley, Gordon D. A. Brown, John Michael & Elliot A. Ludvig - 2022 - Cognition 218 (C):104956.
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  • Some problems with particularism.Keith Raymond Harris - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-16.
    Particularists maintain that conspiracy theories are to be assessed individually, while generalists hold that conspiracy theories may be assessed as a class. This paper seeks to clarify the nature and importance of the debate between particularism and generalism, while offering an argument for a version of generalism. I begin by considering three approaches to the definition of conspiracy theory, and offer reason to prefer an approach that defines conspiracy theories in opposition to the claims of epistemic authorities. I argue that (...)
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  • Pigden Revisited, or In Defence of Popper’s Critique of the Conspiracy Theory of Society.Deane Galbraith - 2022 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 52 (4):235-257.
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Volume 52, Issue 4, Page 235-257, July 2022. Charles Pigden’s 1995 article “Popper Revisited, or What is Wrong with Conspiracy Theories?” stimulated what is today a fertile sub-field of philosophical enquiry into conspiracy theories. In his article, Pigden identifies Karl Popper as the originator of the philosophical argument that it is naïve to believe in any conspiracy theory. But Popper was not criticizing belief in conspiracy theories at all, as Pigden defined them or as they (...)
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  • Pigden Revisited, or In Defence of Popper’s Critique of the Conspiracy Theory of Society.Deane Galbraith - 2022 - Sage Publications Inc: Philosophy of the Social Sciences 52 (4):235-257.
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Volume 52, Issue 4, Page 235-257, July 2022. Charles Pigden’s 1995 article “Popper Revisited, or What is Wrong with Conspiracy Theories?” stimulated what is today a fertile sub-field of philosophical enquiry into conspiracy theories. In his article, Pigden identifies Karl Popper as the originator of the philosophical argument that it is naïve to believe in any conspiracy theory. But Popper was not criticizing belief in conspiracy theories at all, as Pigden defined them or as they (...)
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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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  • Secrecy and conspiracy.Matthew R. X. Dentith & Martin Orr - 2017 - Episteme 15 (4):433-450.
    In the literature on conspiracy theories, the least contentious part of the academic discourse would appear to be what we mean by a “conspiracy”: a secretive plot between two or more people toward some end. Yet what, exactly, is the connection between something being a conspiracy and it being secret? Is it possible to conspire without also engaging in secretive behavior? To dissect the role of secrecy in con- spiracies – and thus contribute to the larger debate on the epistemology (...)
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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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  • Expertise and Conspiracy Theories.M. R. X. Dentith - 2018 - Social Epistemology 32 (3):196-208.
    Judging the warrant of conspiracy theories can be difficult, and often we rely upon what the experts tell us when it comes to assessing whether particular conspiracy theories ought to be believed. However, whereas there are recognised experts in the sciences, I argue that only are is no such associated expertise when it comes to the things we call `conspiracy theories,' but that the conspiracy theorist has good reason to be suspicious of the role of expert endorsements when it comes (...)
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  • Conspiracy theories on the basis of the evidence.Matthew Dentith - 2017 - Synthese:1-19.
    Conspiracy theories are often portrayed as unwarranted beliefs, typically supported by suspicious kinds of evidence. Yet contemporary work in Philosophy argues provisional belief in conspiracy theories is at the very least understandable---because conspiracies occur---and that if we take an evidential approach, judging individual conspiracy theories on their particular merits, belief in such theories turns out to be warranted in a range of cases. -/- Drawing on this work, I examine the kinds of evidence typically associated with conspiracy theories, and show (...)
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  • Conspiracy theories on the basis of the evidence.M. R. X. Dentith - 2019 - Synthese 196 (6):2243-2261.
    Conspiracy theories are often portrayed as unwarranted beliefs, typically supported by suspicious kinds of evidence. Yet contemporary work in Philosophy argues provisional belief in conspiracy theories is—at the very—least understandable (because conspiracies occur) and if we take an evidential approach—judging individual conspiracy theories on their particular merits—belief in such theories turns out to be warranted in a range of cases. Drawing on this work, I examine the kinds of evidence typically associated with conspiracy theories, showing that the evidential problems typically (...)
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  • Debunking conspiracy theories.M. R. X. Dentith - 2020 - Synthese 198 (10):9897-9911.
    In this paper I interrogate the notion of `debunking conspiracy theories’, arguing that the term `debunk’ carries with it pejorative implications, given that the verb `to debunk’ is commonly understood as `to show the wrongness of a thing or concept’. As such, the notion of `debunking conspiracy theories’ builds in the notion that such theories are not just wrong but ought to be shown as being wrong. I argue that we should avoid the term `debunk’ and focus on investigating conspiracy (...)
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  • Evaluating conspiracy claims as public sphere communication.Eileen Culloty - 2021 - Journal for Cultural Research 25 (1):36-50.
    Conspiracy theories have become a ubiquitous feature of contemporary culture. From a communication studies perspective, conspiracy theories undermine democratic communication by misleading the publ...
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  • In Defense of (Some) Online Echo Chambers.Douglas R. Campbell - 2023 - Ethics and Information Technology 25 (3):1-11.
    In this article, I argue that online echo chambers are in some cases and in some respects good. I do not attempt to refute arguments that they are harmful, but I argue that they are sometimes beneficial. In the first section, I argue that it is sometimes good to be insulated from views with which one disagrees. In the second section, I argue that the software-design principles that give rise to online echo chambers have a lot to recommend them. Further, (...)
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  • Doing your own research and other impossible acts of epistemic superheroism.Andrew Buzzell & Regina Rini - 2023 - Philosophical Psychology 36 (5):906-930.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by an “infodemic” of misinformation and conspiracy theory. This article points to three explanatory factors: the challenge of forming accurate beliefs when overwhelmed with information, an implausibly individualistic conception of epistemic virtue, and an adversarial information environment that suborns epistemic dependence. Normally we cope with the problems of informational excess by relying on other people, including sociotechnical systems that mediate testimony and evidence. But when we attempt to engage in epistemic “superheroics” - withholding trust (...)
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  • On the origin of conspiracy theories.Patrick Brooks - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (12):3279-3299.
    Conspiracy theories are rather a popular topic these days, and a lot has been written on things like the meaning of _conspiracy theory_, whether it’s ever rational to believe conspiracy theories, and on the psychology and demographics of people who believe conspiracy theories. But very little has been said about why people might be led to posit conspiracy theories in the first place. This paper aims to fill this lacuna. In particular, I shall argue that, in open democratic societies, citizens (...)
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  • A puzzle of epistemic paternalism.Rory Aird - 2023 - Philosophical Psychology 36 (5):1011-1029.
    Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, conspiracy theories, misinformation, and fake news about the virus have abounded, drastically affecting global health measures to oppose it. In response, different strategies have been proposed to combat such Covid-19 collective irrationalities. One suggested approach has been that of epistemic paternalism – non-consultative interference in agents’ inquiries for their epistemic improvement. While extant literature on epistemic paternalism has mainly discussed whether it is (ever) justified, in this paper, I primarily focus (...)
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  • Análisis del movimiento antivacunas en Twitter: una perspectiva latinoamericana.Valeria Carolina Edelsztein & Claudio Cormick - 2023 - Journal of Science Communication (Jcom)-América Latina 6 (2).
    En este artículo realizamos un relevamiento exhaustivo de las publicaciones de Médicos por la Verdad, uno de los principales grupos antivacunas de Latinoamérica, en la red social Twitter durante la pandemia de COVID-19. Clasificamos sus tipos de razonamiento y el contenido de sus mensajes y mostramos que las propuestas existentes de análisis de discursos anticientíficos no pueden aplicarse a este caso particular. Proponemos, en consecuencia, una nueva categorización y su aplicación focalizada en las herramientas disponibles para comunicadores de la ciencia, (...)
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  • Should We be Generalists about Official Stories? A Response to Hayward.Will Mittendorf - 2023 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 12 (10):36-43.
    In “The Applied Epistemology of Official Stories” (2023), Tim Hayward offers a thorough and convincing rejection of Neil Levy’s claim that we ought to defer to official stories from relevant epistemic authorities. In this response, I take no issue with Hayward’s criticism of Levy. Rather, I suggest that Hayward’s position could go further, and he already implies a deeper problem with the concept of an ‘official story’. In fact, I’m so swayed by several of his claims against things called ‘official (...)
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  • The Problem of Conspiracism.Matthew R. X. Dentith - 2018 - Argumenta 3 (2):327-343.
    Belief in conspiracy theories is typically considered irrational, and as a consequence of this, conspiracy theorists––those who dare believe some conspiracy theory––have been charged with a variety of epistemic or psychological failings. Yet recent philosophical work has challenged the view that belief in conspiracy theories should be considered as typically irrational. By performing an intra-group analysis of those people we call “conspiracy theorists”, we find that the problematic traits commonly ascribed to the general group of conspiracy theorists turn out to (...)
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  • In Defence of Particularism: A Reply to Stokes.Matthew R. X. Dentith - 2016 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5 (11):27-33.
    A reply to Patrick Stokes' “Between Generalism and Particularism About Conspiracy Theory".
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  • Conspiracy Theories.Jared A. Millson - 2020 - 1000wordphilosophy.Com.
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  • Treating Conspiracy Theories Seriously: A Reply to Basham on Dentith.Matthew R. X. Dentith - 2016 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5 (9):1-5.
    A response to Lee Basham's 'The Need for Accountable Witnesses: A Reply to Dentith'.
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