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Is Conspiracy Theorising Irrational? Neil Levy – Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective
"Conspiratorial ideation—as I will call the disposition to be accepting of unwarranted conspiracy theories—is widely regarded as a product of irrationality or epistemic vice. I argue that it is not: the dispositions that underlie it are not rationally criticisable. Some of the dispositions underlying such ideation is the product of mistrust and heightened vigilance, and these dispositions are warranted as responses to (usually real) inequality and exploitation. Other dispositions are warranted as adaptations for filtering testimony. While those who accept unwarranted conspiracy theories are being led astray epistemically, the solution to this problem is not to alter their dispositions but instead to change the conditions that make their mistrust appropriate."
conspiracy  epistemology  rationality 
october 2019 by tsuomela
A Pioneer of Paranoia | The New Republic
"PALE HORSE RIDER: WILLIAM COOPER, THE RISE OF CONSPIRACY, AND THE FALL OF TRUST IN AMERICA by Mark JacobsonBlue Rider Press, 384 pp., $27.00"
book  review  conspiracy  american-studies  ufos 
august 2018 by tsuomela
Even the intellectual left is drawn to conspiracy theories about the right. Resist them. - Vox
comment on the book Democracy in Chains, by Nancy MacLean, which is about James Buchanan and public choice economics.
book  review  economics  history  libertarian  public-choice  conspiracy 
july 2017 by tsuomela
Conspiracy Theories by Cass R. Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule :: SSRN
"Many millions of people hold conspiracy theories; they believe that powerful people have worked together in order to withhold the truth about some important practice or some terrible event. A recent example is the belief, widespread in some parts of the world, that the attacks of 9/11 were carried out not by Al Qaeda, but by Israel or the United States. Those who subscribe to conspiracy theories may create serious risks, including risks of violence, and the existence of such theories raises significant challenges for policy and law. The first challenge is to understand the mechanisms by which conspiracy theories prosper; the second challenge is to understand how such theories might be undermined. Such theories typically spread as a result of identifiable cognitive blunders, operating in conjunction with informational and reputational influences. A distinctive feature of conspiracy theories is their self-sealing quality. Conspiracy theorists are not likely to be persuaded by an attempt to dispel their theories; they may even characterize that very attempt as further proof of the conspiracy. Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light."
conspiracy  psychology  information  information-cascade 
may 2014 by tsuomela
One Man's Long Battle Against Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theories | TIME.com
"Fifty years after John F. Kennedy's assassination, another wave of conspiracy theories has arrived. One little-known professor has spent his last 20 years fighting the skeptics."
conspiracy  assassination  history  america  american-studies 
november 2013 by tsuomela
The More Republicans Know About Politics, the More They Believe Conspiracy Theories | Mother Jones
"But whatever the ultimate cause, the idea that everybody is equally biased, but in different directions, continues to have a key weakness—namely, the data."
politics  partisanship  perception  bias  conspiracy  democrats  republicans  bipartisanship 
january 2013 by tsuomela
Creationism requires a global conspiracy of lying scientists and/or a lying God
"To believe in creationism, either you must believe that there is a global conspiracy of scientists intent on lying to you, or you must believe that God is intent on lying to you.

That 46 percent of Americans believe one or the other of those is, as I said, dismaying."
evolution  belief  religion  creationism  conspiracy  deception 
june 2012 by tsuomela
U.S. Intellectual History: The Frankfurt School, Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories, and American Conservatism
"Neiwert goes on to note that the idea of "Cultural Marxism" has already filtered into much more mainstream conservative circles in this country. In particular, Republican dirty trickster Andrew Breitbart has become a major vector for the idea of "Cultural Marxism" and the supposed iniquity of the Frankfurt School."
right-wing  conspiracy  conservatism  history  political-correctness  marxism  critical-theory 
july 2011 by tsuomela
Belief In Conspiracies Linked to Machiavellian Mindset | Miller-McCune
"“At least among some samples and for some conspiracy theories, the perception that ‘they did it’ is fueled by the perception that ‘I would do it,’” University of Kent psychologists Karen Douglas and Robbie Sutton write in the British Journal of Social Psychology."
conspiracy  psychology  belief  ethics  moral 
may 2011 by tsuomela
Julian Assange and the Computer Conspiracy; “To destroy this invisible government” « zunguzungu
This is however, not where Assange’s reasoning leads him. He decides, instead, that the most effective way to attack this kind of organization would be to make “leaks” a fundamental part of the conspiracy’s information environment. Which is why the point is not that particular leaks are specifically effective. Wikileaks does not leak something like the “Collateral Murder” video as a way of putting an end to that particular military tactic; that would be to target a specific leg of the hydra even as it grows two more. Instead, the idea is that increasing the porousness of the conspiracy’s information system will impede its functioning, that the conspiracy will turn against itself in self-defense, clamping down on its own information flows in ways that will then impede its own cognitive function. You destroy the conspiracy, in other words, by making it so paranoid of itself that it can no longer conspire:
wikileaks  secrecy  conspiracy  power  government  communication  distributed  cognition  information  journalism 
december 2010 by tsuomela
Contrary Brin: Conspiracies and Wishful Thinking
To what extent is the world filled with conniving villains and dastardly plots... and how much of it erupts from our fertile imaginations?  It may not surprise you much that I take both sides on this matter.
conspiracy  patterns  cognition 
december 2010 by tsuomela
Julian Assange and the Computer Conspiracy; “To destroy this invisible government” « zunguzungu
Most of the news media seems to be losing their minds over Wikileaks without actually reading these essays, even though he describes the function and aims of an organization like Wikileaks in pretty straightforward terms. But, to summarize, he begins by describing a state like the US as essentially an authoritarian conspiracy, and then reasons that the practical strategy for combating that conspiracy is to degrade its ability to conspire, to hinder its ability to “think” as a conspiratorial mind. The metaphor of a computing network is mostly implicit, but utterly crucial: he seeks to oppose the power of the state by treating it like a computer and tossing sand in its diodes.
wikileaks  secrecy  authoritarian  revolution  conspiracy  collective-intelligence 
december 2010 by tsuomela
Tea Party: Old Whine in New Bottles | Mother Jones
The growth of the tea party movement isn't really due to the recession (in fact, polling evidence shows that tea partiers are generally better off and less affected by the recession than the population at large). It's not because Obama is black (white Democratic presidents got largely the same treatment). And it's not because Obama bailed out General Motors (so did George W. Bush). It's simpler. Ever since the 1930s, something very much like the tea party movement has fluoresced every time a Democrat wins the presidency, and the nature of the fluorescence always follows many of the same broad contours: a reverence for the Constitution, a supposedly spontaneous uprising of formerly nonpolitical middle-class activists, a preoccupation with socialism and the expanding tyranny of big government, a bitterness toward an underclass viewed as unwilling to work, and a weakness for outlandish conspiracy theories.
politics  tea-party  conservatism  republicans  history  fundamentalism  reactionary  conspiracy 
october 2010 by tsuomela
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