Conspiracy Theories and Democratic Legitimacy

Social Epistemology 37 (4):481-493 (2023)
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Conspiracy theories are frequently described as a threat to democracy and conspiracy theorists portrayed as epistemically or morally unreasonable. If these characterizations are correct, then it may be the case that reasons stemming from conspiracy theorizing threaten the legitimizing function of democratic deliberation. In this paper, I will argue the opposite. Despite the extraordinary epistemic and morally unreasonable claims made by some conspiracy theorists, belief in conspiracy theories is guided by internal epistemic norms inherent in believing. By utilizing the insights of the Peircean epistemic defense formulated by Cheryl Misak and Robert Talisse, I take it that these epistemic norms implicitly commit the theorist to an open democratic society.



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Will Mittendorf
Cerritos College

References found in this work

A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Why Deliberative Democracy?Amy Gutmann & Dennis F. Thompson - 2004 - Princeton University Press.
Some Conspiracy Theories.M. R. X. Dentith - 2023 - Social Epistemology (4):522-534.
The Problems of Philosophy.Bertrand Russell - 1912 - Mind 21 (84):556-564.

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