Conspiracism as a Litmus Test for Responsible Innovation

In Georgy Ishmaev Matthew J. Dennis (ed.), Values for a Post-Pandemic Future. Dordrecht, Nederland: pp. 111-128 (2022)
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The inclusion of stakeholders in science is one of the core ideas in the field of responsible innovation. Conspiracists, however, are not your garden-variety stakeholders. As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, the conflict between conspiracists and science is deep and intractable. In this paper, we ask how the game of responsible innovation can be played with those who believe that the game is rigged. Understanding the relationship between conspiracism and responsible innovation is necessary in order to understand the unvisited corners of the science-society interface in the post-pandemic future. We claim that pluralism, already part of the philosophical background that spurred responsible innovation, can offer insights into how conspiracism can be approached. As a case in point, we develop these insights starting from the policy on conspiracism developed in 2021 by the European Commission. We show that the ideal of inclusion can only be extended to conspiracists by accepting a pluralist framework, and we explain this pluralist response.

Author Profiles

Vincent Blok
Wageningen University and Research


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