When Inferring to a Conspiracy might be the Best Explanation

Social Epistemology 30 (5-6):572-591 (2016)
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Abstract

Conspiracy theories are typically thought to be examples of irrational beliefs, and thus unlikely to be warranted. However, recent work in Philosophy has challenged the claim that belief in conspiracy theories is irrational, showing that in a range of cases, belief in conspiracy theories is warranted. However, it is still often said that conspiracy theories are unlikely relative to non-conspiratorial explanations which account for the same phenomena. However, such arguments turn out to rest upon how we define what gets counted both as a ‘conspiracy’ and a ‘conspiracy theory’, and such arguments rest upon shaky assumptions. It turns out that it is not clear that conspiracy theories are prima facie unlikely, and so the claim that such theories do not typically appear in our accounts of the best explanations for particular kinds of events needs to be reevaluated.

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Author's Profile

M R. X. Dentith
Beijing Normal University

References found in this work

Conjectures and Refutations.Karl R. Popper - 1968 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 19 (2):159-168.
Of conspiracy theories.Brian L. Keeley - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):109-126.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Jonathan Vogel - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (3):419.
Popper revisited, or what is wrong with conspiracy theories?Charles Pigden - 1995 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 25 (1):3-34.
Are Conspiracy Theorists Irrational?David Coady - 2007 - Episteme 4 (2):193-204.

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