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The truth is out there: Is it irrational to believe in conspiracy theories?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The conventional wisdom is the epistemological strategy of rejecting conspiracy theories prior to investigation based on the presumption that such theories are almost always irrational. However, if a conspiracy theory is simply a theory which posits conspiracies and history is chock-a-block with conspiracies, then why should we generally reject conspiracy theories prior to investigation? Charles Pigden argues that precisely because conspiracies are historically common in the realm of power politics there will be conspiracy theories that are importantly true. Hence, there is a prima facie case for adopting an epistemological strategy which obligates epistemological agents to investigate conspiracy theories and believe them if that is what the evidence suggests. The paper evaluates the epistemic consequences of the conventional wisdom through the lens of Pigden’s critique and addresses if conspiracy theories are associated with specific epistemological problems that could justify the conventional wisdom. As a theoretical contribution the paper considers an argument which could undermine the intended purpose of the conventional wisdom as an epistemological strategy. If most conspiracy theories are defunct then conspiracy theoreticians must either be generally paranoid and/or be intentionally pushing ideological rather than epistemological objectives. On the conventionalist view, many conspiracy theoreticians must therefore be part of a conspiracy themselves implying that the conventionalist has constructed   a conspiracy theory as an unintended consequence of generally rejecting conspiracy theories.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 29
Keywords [en]
Conspiracy theory, epistemology.
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-168712OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-168712DiVA, id: diva2:1313914
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Available from: 2019-06-19 Created: 2019-05-06 Last updated: 2019-06-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
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