Conspiracy Theories: The Philosophical Debate (Hardback) book cover

Conspiracy Theories

The Philosophical Debate

Edited by David Coady

© 2006 – Routledge

184 pages

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Hardback: 9780754652502
pub: 2006-03-28

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Conspiracy theories have a bad reputation. In the past, most philosophers have ignored the topic, vaguely supposing that conspiracy theories are obviously irrational and that they can be easily dismissed. The current philosophical interest in the subject results from a realisation that this is not so. Some philosophers have taken up the challenge of identifying and explaining the flaws of conspiracy theories. Other philosophers have argued that conspiracy theories do not deserve their bad reputation, and that conspiracy theorists do not deserve their reputation for irrationality. This book represents both sides of this important debate. Aimed at a broad philosophical community, including epistemologists, political philosophers, and philosophers of history. It represents a significant contribution to the growing interdisciplinary debate about conspiracy theories.


'This is an important contribution to a neglected area ” applied, public epistemology. The essays, along with Coady’s useful introduction, clearly set out the critical shortcomings of conspiracy theories via central epistemological concepts like evidence, warrant, and testability. But authors also uncover rich layers of complexity beneath our everyday talk, and in performing that philosophical task, they expose shortcomings of any attempt at simple dismissal of conspiracy theories. Coady has selected essays that display a surprising and attractive balance.' Professor Jonathan Adler of the City University of New York ’The book offers some useful definitions of both conspiracy and conspiracy theory.’ Scientific and Medical Network

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; An Introduction to the Philosophical Debate about Conspiracy Theories, David Coady; The Conspiracy Theory of Society, Karl R. Popper; Popper revisited, or What is Wrong with Conspiracy Theories?, Charles Pigden; Of conspiracy theories, Brian L. Keeley; Living with the conspiracy, Lee Basham; Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracy Theorizing, Steve Clarke; Malevolent global conspiracy, Lee Basham; Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! More Thoughts on Conspiracy Theory, Brian L. Keeley; Conspiracy Theories and Official Stories, David Coady; Appealing to the Fundamental Attribution Error: Was it All a Big Mistake?, Steve Clarke; Afterthoughts on conspiracy theory: resilience and ubiquity, Lee Basham; Complots of mischief, Charles Pigden; The Pragmatic Rejection of Conspiracy Theories, David Coady; Index.

About the Editor

Dr David Coady is from the School of Philosophy at the University of Tasmania, Australia.

Subject Categories

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