Conspiracy Theories Are Not Beliefs

Erkenntnis (2022)
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Abstract
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 should not be favored over the Minimalist Account. Furthermore, I propose that the Minimalist Account is the best conception of ‘conspiracy theory’ if we share Napolitano’s goal of advancing the understanding of conspiracy theories.
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Archival date: 2022-09-20
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