New paper – Expertise and conspiracy theories

Another day, another paper; ‘Expertise and conspiracy theories,’ which is in early access over at Social Epistemology.

Abstract: Judging the warrant of conspiracy theories can be difficult, and often we rely upon what the experts tell us when it comes to assessing whether particular conspiracy theories ought to be believed. However, whereas there are recognised experts in the sciences, I argue that only are is no such associated expertise when it comes to the things we call ‘conspiracy theories’, but that the conspiracy theorist has good reason to be suspicious of the role of expert endorsements when it comes to conspiracy theories and their rivals. The kind of expertise, then, we might associate with conspiracy theories is largely improvised – in that it lacks institutional features – and, I argue, ideally the product of a community of inquiry.

You can read a version of it here.

Article – Secrecy and Conspiracy

What’s this? Another article? This time co-written with the wonderful Martin Orr? Published in Episteme? My, but aren’t we lucky?

Abstract: In the literature on conspiracy theories, the least contentious part of the academic discourse would appear to be what we mean by a “conspiracy”: a secretive plot between two or more people toward some end. Yet what, exactly, is the connection between something being a conspiracy and it being secret? Is it possible to conspire without also engaging in secretive behavior? To dissect the role of secrecy in conspiracies – and thus contribute to the larger debate on the epistemology of conspiracy theories – we define the concepts of “conspiracy,” “conspirator,” and “secret,” and argue that while conspirators might typically be thought to commit to keeping secrets once their conspiracy is underway, the idea that conspiracies are necessarily secretive to start with is not as obvious as previously thought.

Read it online here.“>here.

Replying to social scientists…

‘What have you been working on recently, M?’, some of of could at least bother to ask. ‘Replying to social scientists!’ I would doubtless reply. Indeed, you can see said reply here (co-written with the wonderful Martin Orr, of Boise State, Idaho). I fully expect this to become some kind of chain letter, so please, share it with your friends. The last person to break the chain was accused of mental pathologies, and we wouldn’t want that, now, would we?