An Update on the Thesis

This week has been all about getting the rough draft of the thesis into some semblance of a final product.

It has been a rather productive affair.

LaTeX has some rather useful features, most of which I’ve not been using. Cross-referencing, the use of the \include command, automagical page numbering… Now, given that this is the final year, these are the kind of things that it would be useful to start inputting now so as to save me time and effort in three months time. Luckily, I’ve been somewhat aware of this need for the last two years, so I’ve been marking what needs to cross-references to what. Still, that was a lazy solution; to paraphrase Wodehouse, it would have been the work of a moment to have done it properly from the beginning.

Mostly, though, I’ve been rewriting. Last week it was chapter 2, which presents my definition of that most amorphous of things, the conspiracy theory. The original chapter. written about two years ago, turned out to be almost risibly out of touch with subsequent chapters; issues I thought would be important at the time have turned out not to be. For example, I thought I would make a lot out of the distinction between ‘narrow’ and ‘wide’ notions of the endgoal of conspiracy theories, but it turns out one of my footnotes was right; it’s just a definitional game that really ends up doing the discourse no favours.

Which brings me to this week. Chapter 2 used to be chapter 3, but the original chapters 1 and 2 seem to do almost exactly the same job. I need to unify them.

Which may well be the best thing ever. At the moment I have 94,000 words in my thesis and it’s not meant to be any more than 100,000. I’ve not written the final chapter or the conclusion, so I need to start finding things to cull. Two introductions is a good place to start, but I’m going to need more. Luckily, that chapter on the transmission of conspiracy theories has a lot of dead wood in it.

More news as it comes to hand.


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.