Thoughts on Peter Knight’s ‘Conspiracy Theories about 9/11’

(My notes on the paper)

Well, this all fits in nicely with my recent paper (which is a tad awkward in that I’ve had this article for ages and only just got around to reading it). Knight’s thesis in ‘Conspiracy Theories about 9/11’ is that, at least with respect to 9/11, Official Views and Conspiracy Theories are highly similar in relevant ways and that this is especially true when it comes to the attribution of the notion of the agents behind the event(s) being explained.

Knight uses Hofstadter’s term ‘demonological’ in respect to these agents and argues that both sides of the debate feature demonised agents. Now, we can interpret this in two ways. They are demonic ala godlike or demonic ala evil and manipulative.

The first interpretation would act as a possible criticism of my paper; sometimes people do intend to present godlike conspirators because that is what they believe in. I think my replies probably still stand, however.

The second interpretation acts as support, in a way, to my paper. These agents are presented as demonological; evil and manipulative. This is rhetoric, however. It is the result of a particular way of presenting material politically. Now maybe the myth of the American system seems widely believed in, but I suspect it is believed in much the same way as the omnigod thesis.

Knight’s article works, I think, precisely because of its tight and narrow scope. Come the revision of the paper into the introduction of the thesis I shall incorporate my comments upon his paper into it.


About Matthew Dentith

Author of "The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories" (Palgrave Macmillan), Matthew Dentith wrote his PhD on epistemic issues surrounding belief in conspiracy theories. He is a frequent media commentator on the weird and the wonderful, both locally and internationally. On occasion he can be caught dreaming about wax lions but, mostly, it is rumoured he works for elements of the New World Order.