Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


The Study of Conspiracy Theories [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 06 • Author/s: Joseph E. Uscinski
Topics: Epistemology, Ethics, Political philosophy

The study of conspiracy theories has undergone a drastic transformation in the last decade. While early scholarly treatments relied on historical cases and cultural analyses, more recent works focus on the individuals who subscribe either to specific conspiracy beliefs or to more generalized conspiratorial thinking. This shift in focus presents scholars with an opportunity to learn more about how and why conspiracy theories gain followers. But also, this new focus presents dangers which have yet to be fully considered by the psychologists, social-psychologists, and political scientists spearheading the research. In…

Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule on Conspiracy Theories [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 06 • Author/s: David Coady
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

I criticise Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule’s influential critique of conspiracy theories in “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures”. I argue that their position depends on an equivocation over the meaning of the term ‘conspiracy theory’. This equivocation reflects a widespread assumption that conspiracy theories tend to be false, unjustified and harmful, and that, as a result, we can speak as if all conspiracy theories are objectionable in each of these three ways. I argue that this assumption is itself false, unjustified, and harmful. There are many true, justified, and/or beneficial…

Conspiracy Theorists and Monological Belief Systems [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 06 • Author/s: Kurtis Hagen
Topics: Epistemology, Meta-Philosophy, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language, Theoretical philosophy

Recent scholarship has claimed to show that conspiracy theorists are prone to simultaneously believe mutually contradictory conspiracy theories, as well as believe entirely made up conspiracy theories. The authors of those studies suggest that this supports the notion that conspiracy theories operate within “monological belief systems”, in which conspiracy theorists find support for conspiratorial beliefs in other conspiratorial beliefs, or in related generalizations, rather than in evidence directly relevant to the conspiracy in question. In this article, I argue that all of that is either wrong or at least misleading.

The Problem of Conspiracism [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 06 • Author/s: Matthew Dentith
Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of language, Political philosophy, Theoretical philosophy

Belief in conspiracy theories is typically considered irrational, and as a consequence of this, conspiracy theorists––those who dare believe some conspiracy theory––have been charged with a variety of epistemic or psychological failings. Yet recent philosophical work has challenged the view that belief in conspiracy theories should be considered as typically irrational. By performing an intra-group analysis of those people we call “conspiracy theorists”, we find that the problematic traits commonly ascribed to the general group of conspiracy theorists turn out to be merely a set of stereotypical behaviours and thought…