New paper – When inferring to a conspiracy might be the best explanation

I have a new post basically ready to go, but that will have to wait until tomorrow, for today is a celebration of my new paper in Social Epistemology, ‘When inferring to a conspiracy might be the best explanation’.

Abstract: Conspiracy theories are typically thought to be examples of irrational beliefs, and thus unlikely to be warranted. However, recent work in Philosophy has challenged the claim that belief in conspiracy theories is irrational, showing that in a range of cases belief in conspiracy theories is warranted. However, it is still often said that conspiracy theories are unlikely relative to non-conspiratorial explanations which account for the same phenomena. However, such arguments turn out to rest upon how we define what gets counted both as a ‘conspiracy’ and a ‘conspiracy theory’, and such arguments rest upon shaky assumptions. It turns out that is not clear that conspiracy theories are prima facie unlikely, and so the claim such theories do not typically appear in our accounts of the best explanations for particular kinds of events needs to be re-evaluated.

Available here [paywalled] (or via your library’s journal subscription).

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.


    1. I agree. Unfortunately, I was not in the position to pay for open access in this case (open access publication is the delightful rort where the publisher makes articles free to read online as long as the author pays a fee). Still, if you look around, PhilPapers, or ResearchGate, you will find legitimate pre-print copies of the paper there.

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