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.

2 comments:

  1. Wish I was there! Great p-cast.

    A question: How do we limit the prior probability of ambitious or momentous political/economic conspiracy in our present national and growing global context? The projection of elite motive is one method, but it requires a background theory of current elite political/social goals to construct and constrain probable rational motives within it. To limit this, it seems we need to evoke (1) a model of power elite motives. This allows us to understand proximate goals. (2) an exhaustion model of power elite foresight within the political/economic hierarchy, so that their motives are still projectable by us to the time horizon; the assumption these goals, sufficiently abstract, are stable. A way of saying a class of leadership have only thought, “so far ahead”, with goals still easily recognizable to us at any point. (A suspect assumption as we move out along the time line.) I suppose this is ultimately a very difficult computational problem. How forward-looking could any manipulative, society-shaping plan be, given it is a human plan in the 21st century; how forward-looking is it likely to be? What symptoms of their own estimate (motive constraint)? Projecting the activities and projects of global hierarchies is like that. I take this to be an epistemic reductio of them, in the context of our increasingly hierarchical democracies, ones epistemically opaque to almost all of us. Ultimately “Globalism”, if you like. Others might disagree. Democracy as we now understand it–an organic popular response constrained by fairly rigid constitutional legalities–necessarily vanishes. We have no clue.

    When faced with epistemic imponderables generated by our information hierarchy opacity, one might be tempted to change the system, in diverse ways, generating diverse democratically viable, because power-visible, societies. Such will not be epistemically imponderable to those we ask to live in them. They will be local, not global, in epistemic reach. Such is our species.

    Cheers~

    Lee Basham

    1. An interesting point; part of me suspects much political machinations/conspiracies are fixated on short term goals, rather than long term ones, and that same part of me suspects that the notion of these goals has really changed all that much over the centuries. That being said, given the role of corporations and the like in global politics, the idea of there being long term goals (even really abstract ones like ‘Remain the market leader’ or ‘Tolerate no competition’) being realised needs to be assessed (and, in many cases, opposed). The same kind of goals are probably shared by the various civil services (which survive changes of government, and, if you are cynical, set the agenda for government in the first place). So, yeah, many issues to ponder. Luckily, I have a year to do so…

Comments are closed.