The applied epistemology of conspiracy theories

An overview

Authored by: M. R. X. Dentith , Brian L. Keeley

The Routledge Handbook of Applied Epistemology

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138932654
eBook ISBN: 9781315679099
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315679099-21

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Abstract

In the debate on belief in conspiracy theories there are two schools of thought: Generalism (the thesis that we can evaluate conspiracy theories as a class) and Particularism (the argument that we should assess particular conspiracy theories on their evidential merits). After discussing the role of defining what counts as a conspiracy or conspiracy theory, in this chapter we argue for a Particularist take in the epistemology of conspiracy theories. We focus on both the considerations that motivate how we define what counts as a conspiracy theory (and thus what counts as evidence for or against conspiracy theories), and the way in which knowledge of such theories is – in some sense – improvised.

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