When Inferring to a Conspiracy might be the Best Explanation - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14953587


“Investigating Conspiracy Theories: The case for treating conspiracy theories seriously, even the (apparently) ridiculous ones” The term ‘conspiracy theory’ gets a bad rap in public discourse. Recent academic work – particularly in History, Philosophy and Sociology – has convincingly argued that conspiracy theories do not deserve their bad reputation; conspiracies don’t just happen but many pejoratively-labelled ‘conspiracy theories’ have turned out to be warranted. But what would it be like to treat such theories seriously enough to engage in a systemic investigation of them? How do we sort good theories from bad? What counts as evidence for or against a conspiracy? Just who would investigate such theories? Drawing together a swath of recent academic work on these things we call ‘conspiracy theories’ I argue that we ought to treat conspiracy theories seriously and investigate them, even if that means sometimes we have to ponder whether alien shape-shifting reptiles run our governments.



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.

Matthew R. X. Dentith completed his PhD in Philosophy at the University of Auckland. He works in epistemology and argumentation theory. He is the author of ‘The philosophy of conspiracy theories’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10 ... rc=recsys&
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Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom Revisited
Abstract

Conspiracy theories should be neither believed nor investigated - that is the conventional wisdom. I argue that it is sometimes permissible both to investigate and to believe. Hence this is a dispute in the ethics of belief. I defend epistemic ‘oughts’ that apply in the first instance to belief-forming strategies that are partly under our control. I argue that the policy of systematically doubting or disbelieving conspiracy theories would be both a political disaster and the epistemic equivalent of self-mutilation, since it leads to the conclusion that history is bunk and the nightly news unbelievable. In fact (of course) the policy is not employed systematically but is only wheeled on to do down theories that the speaker happens to dislike. I develop a deductive argument from hard-to-deny premises that if you are not a ‘conspiracy theorist’ in my anodyne sense of the word then you are an ‘idiot’ in the Greek sense of the word, that is, someone so politically purblind as to have no opinions about either history or public affairs. The conventional wisdom can only be saved (if at all) if ‘conspiracy theory’ is given a slanted definition. I discuss some slanted definitions apparently presupposed by proponents of the conventional wisdom (including, amongst others, Tony Blair) and conclude that even with these definitions the conventional wisdom comes out as deeply unwise. I finish up with a little harmless fun at the expense of David Aaronvitch whose abilities as a rhetorician and a popular historian are not perhaps matched by a corresponding capacity for logical thought.

Charles R Pigden, University of Otago, Philosophy Department, Faculty Member
https://philpapers.org/rec/PIGCTA-2
#14953592

On this edition our guest is New Zealand-based philosopher and conspiracy theory researcher Matthew Dentith. He is a self-described “conspiracy theory theorist” who wrote his doctoral dissertation on conspiracy theories. In that work and his recent book (below) he breaks from the commonplace disparagement of “conspiracy theorists,” arguing in part that engaging with and thinking seriously about political conspiracies would likely contribute to a much more vibrant political discourse than what is observable today. Matthew teaches courses in political philosophy and critical thinking, is the author of the book, The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories (Palgrave Macmillan 2014) http://www.amazon.com/Philosophy-Cons... . He also hosts his own podcast, The Podcaster’s Guide to the Conspiracy http://conspiracism.podbean.com/ , and blogs at http://all-embracing.episto.org/
#14953662
He makes too much sense to be taken seriously. We absolutely insist the ‘nutjob’ be ignored even though history consistently proves one of them actually has the correct answer.
#14953721
Complots of Mischief(full pdf)
By Charles Pigden

Abstract
In Part 1, I contend (using Coriolanus as my mouthpiece) that Keeley and Clarke have failed to show that there is anything intellectually suspect about conspiracy theories per se. In Part 2. I argue (in propria persona) that the idea that there is something suspect about conspiracy theories is one of the most dangerous and idiotic superstitions to disgrace our political culture.
https://philpapers.org/archive/PIGCOM.pdf
#14953746
Today, Conspiracy theory is a dysphemism.

History is, by definition, a conspiracy theory. An empire doesn't accidentally happen.

What's the difference between occult knowledge and classified information? Perception is veiled.

Lastly, the upper echelons of society are typically members of some sort of club or secret organization. It's just the way we organize society.

Conspiracy theories should be neither believed nor investigated - that is the conventional wisdom. I argue that it is sometimes permissible both to investigate and to believe.
:lol: That's just an aspect of critical thinking dude. Critical thinking is, by definition, thinking about thinking. It's a deliberate meta-cognitive and cognitive act whereby a person reflects on the quality of the reasoning process simultaneously while reasoning to a conclusion.



AS for this thread, if you need a lecture and a TED talk to understand that secrets rule the world... Well, perhaps ignorance is bliss.
Last edited by RhetoricThug on 15 Oct 2018 16:52, edited 1 time in total.
#14953748
Pants-of-dog wrote:That is too vague to be useful.


Too vague to be useful for dogmatic pseudo-skeptics and establishment shills but not too vague for critical thinkers who judge theories according to reason and evidence.

Using that definition, some conspiracy theories are true and some are not, and there is no useful way of telling which are which.


:knife: Of course some are true and some aren't, the only "useful way" of determining which are which is by honest critical analysis of the arguments and evidence presented. Dogmatic heuristics have no epistemic validity.

What's your definition?
#14953751
RhetoricThug wrote:if you need a lecture and a TED talk to understand that secrets rule the world... Well, perhaps ignorance is bliss.


Unfortunately most people are just that dense.
#14953753
My defintion is “any theory that requires a large number of people to all work in collusion and to keep it secret, despite having differing agendas and no real reason to keep it quiet”.

If your theory requires large number of people to work against their own interest and keep quiet about it, then it is probably wrong.
#14953754
@RhetoricThug, you're on the opposite extreme of the dogmatic pseudo-skeptics, you're as eager to believe as they are to dismiss. Both extremes are completely irrational.
#14953758
Sivad wrote:@RhetoricThug, you're on the opposite extreme of the dogmatic pseudo-skeptics, you're as eager to believe as they are to dismiss. Both extremes are completely irrational.
Oh I am, didn't know that. Thanks for telling me, Sivad. :roll:

Given human history, you know, the secret nuclear bomb building, mind control experiments, mass murder, organized genocide, mass surveillance efforts, eugenics, slavery... I like to use my forum image to warn of the possibilities.


But you know, you usually find out after the fact. When it's too late... Just like 5g, if it's a military grade multi-use system (entertainment/propaganda, surveillance, weaponry) or a component of the Pentagon's full-spectrum dominance doctrine, you wouldn't believe me. That's fine. You'd rather have a heated debate on Pofo, shout "I'M RIGHT, YOU'RE WRONG" because that's a rational way to spend your time.

"Trump said what!? OH no he didn't! Dats Cray Cray yo"

"The Left-Right-Left-Right-Left-Right-Left-Right, look honey, I'm goosestepping!"
Last edited by RhetoricThug on 15 Oct 2018 17:19, edited 5 times in total.
#14953760
Pants-of-dog wrote:My defintion is “any theory that requires a large number of people to all work in collusion and to keep it secret, despite having differing agendas and no real reason to keep it quiet”.

If your theory requires large number of people to work against their own interest and keep quiet about it, then it is probably wrong.


That's the open society objection(large conspiracies aren't possible in open democratic societies), the problem with it is 1) our societies aren't nearly as open or democratic as the babbitts like to think they are, and 2) conspiracies involving large numbers of people have been exposed repeatedly throughout modern history.
#14953763
Pants-of-dog wrote:You ignored my points about different agendas and working against your own self interest.



The fact that conspiracies involving large numbers of people have been exposed repeatedly throughout modern history addresses it and refutes it.
#14953770
Here's a conspiracy. This one is about 50 or so designers influencing a billion people.





We just need a little nudge. ;)
#14953774
Pants-of-dog wrote:How so?



You claim it's not possible for large numbers of people collude because they all have different agendas but the fact is large numbers of people have colluded successfully over long periods of time, so your claim is demonstrably false.

Your claim that people don't have a reason to keep quiet about their role in highly illegal activities is just fucking retarded. The social, civil, and criminal penalties they would face if they didn't keep quiet is reason enough.
#14953777
Sivad wrote:You claim it's not possible for large numbers of people collude because they all have different agendas


No, that is not my claim.

I said that large numbers of people with conflicting agendas will not collude, or successfully keep it quiet if they do.

Your claim that people don't have a reason to keep quiet about their role in highly illegal activities is just fucking retarded. The social, civil, and criminal penalties they would face if they didn't keep quiet is reason enough.


I did not claim this either.
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