What Does It Mean for a Conspiracy Theory to Be a ‘Theory’?

Social Epistemology:1-16 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


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 theory’ are problematic for research open to the possibility of finding depolarization strategies. That is, because they preclude constructive engagement with the epistemic norms governing (the rationales foundational of) belief in conspiracy theories.

Author's Profile

Julia Duetz
VU University Amsterdam


Added to PP

224 (#59,340)

6 months
140 (#18,723)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?