Is Conspiracy Theorizing Really Epistemically Problematic?

Episteme 19 (2):197-219 (2022)
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Abstract

In an article based on a recent address to the Royal Institute of Philosophy, Keith Harris has argued that there is something epistemically wrong with conspiracy theorizing. Although he finds “standard criticisms” of conspiracy theories wanting, he argues that there are three subtle but significant problems with conspiracy theorizing: It relies on an invalid probabilistic version of modus tollens. It involves a problematic combination of both epistemic virtues and vices. And it lacks an adequate basis for trust in its information sources. In response to Harris, this article argues that, like previous criticisms, these criticisms do little to undermine conspiracy theorizing as such. And they do not give us good reasons to dismiss any particular conspiracy theory without consideration of the relevant evidence.

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Kurtis Hagen
University of Hawaii (PhD)

References found in this work

Of conspiracy theories.Brian Keeley - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):109-126.
Conspiracy theories: Causes and cures.Cass R. Sunstein & Adrian Vermeule - 2008 - Journal of Political Philosophy 17 (2):202-227.
Ethics Along the Color Line.Anna Stubblefield - 2018 - Cornell University Press.
Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures.Cassr Sunstein - 2009 - Journal of Political Philosophy 17 (2):202-227.
Clearing Up Some Conceptual Confusions About Conspiracy Theory Theorizing.Martin Orr & M. R. X. Dentith - 2018 - In Matthew R. X. Dentith (ed.), Taking Conspiracy Theories Seriously. Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 141-153.

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