David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Episteme 4 (2):181-192 (2007)
Abstract The typical explanation of an event or process which attracts the label ‘conspiracy theory’ is an explanation that conflicts with the account advanced by the relevant epistemic authorities. I argue that both for the layperson and for the intellectual, it is almost never rational to accept such a conspiracy theory. Knowledge is not merely shallowly social, in the manner recognized by social epistemology, it is also constitutively social: many kinds of knowledge only become accessible thanks to the agent's embedding in an environment that includes other epistemic agents. Moreover, advances in knowledge typically require ongoing immersion in this social environment. But the intellectual who embraces a conspiracy theory risks cutting herself off from this environment, and therefore epistemically disabling herself. Embracing a conspiracy theory therefore places at risk the ability to engage in genuine enquiry, including the enquiry needed properly to evaluate the conspiracy theory
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Neil Levy (2006). Open-Mindedness and the Duty to Gather Evidence. Public Affairs Quarterly 20 (1):55-66.
Leonid Rozenblit & Frank Keil (2002). The Misunderstood Limits of Folk Science: An Illusion of Explanatory Depth. Cognitive Science 26 (5):521-562.
Frederick F. Schmitt (ed.) (1994). Socializing Epistemology: The Social Dimensions of Knowledge. Rowman and Littlefield.
Citations of this work BETA
Axel Gelfert (2013). Coverage-Reliability, Epistemic Dependence, and the Problem of Rumor-Based Belief. Philosophia 41 (3):763-786.
Similar books and articles
David Coady (2007). Are Conspiracy Theorists Irrational? Episteme 4 (2):193-204.
David Coady (2012). What to Believe Now: Applying Epistemology to Contemporary Issues. Wiley-Blackwell.
Charles R. Pigden (2007). Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom. Episteme 4 (2):219-232.
David Coady (2003). Conspiracy Theories and Official Stories. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 17 (2):197-209.
Peter J. Lewis (2006). Conspiracy Theories of Quantum Mechanics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):359-381.
Charles Pigden (1995). Popper Revisited, or What is Wrong with Conspiracy Theories? Philosophy of the Social Sciences 25 (1):3-34.
Brian L. Keeley (2007). God as the Ultimate Conspiracy Theory. Episteme 4 (2):135-149.
Pete Mandik (2007). Shit Happens. Episteme: The Journal of Social Epistemology 4 (2):205-218.
Steve Clarke (2007). Conspiracy Theories and the Internet: Controlled Demolition and Arrested Development. Episteme 4 (2):167-180.
Steve Clarke (2002). Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracy Theorizing. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (2):131-150.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads55 ( #32,447 of 1,139,999 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #39,122 of 1,139,999 )
How can I increase my downloads?