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Is Conspiracy Theorizing Really Epistemically Problematic?

Is Conspiracy Theorizing Really Epistemically Problematic? 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: (1) It relies on an invalid probabilistic version of modus tollens. (2) It involves a problematic combination of both epistemic virtues and vices. And (3) 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Episteme Cambridge University Press

Is Conspiracy Theorizing Really Epistemically Problematic?

Episteme , Volume 19 (2): 23 – Jun 1, 2022

Is Conspiracy Theorizing Really Epistemically Problematic?

Episteme , Volume 19 (2): 23 – Jun 1, 2022

Abstract

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: (1) It relies on an invalid probabilistic version of modus tollens. (2) It involves a problematic combination of both epistemic virtues and vices. And (3) 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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Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press
ISSN
1750-0117
eISSN
1742-3600
DOI
10.1017/epi.2020.19
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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: (1) It relies on an invalid probabilistic version of modus tollens. (2) It involves a problematic combination of both epistemic virtues and vices. And (3) 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.

Journal

EpistemeCambridge University Press

Published: Jun 1, 2022

Keywords: Conspiracy theories; philosophy; epistemology; generalism; media; bias

References