Conspiracy Theories: Philosophers Connect the Dots

Conspiracy Theories: Philosophers Connect the Dots

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Conspiracy theories have become a major element in modern opinion formation. From the theory that the killing of President Kennedy was masterminded by a powerful conspiracy to the theory that 9/11 was an inside job, from the story that Barack Obama wasn’t born in America to the story that Donald Trump was a Russian asset, conspiracy theories have become a major element in opinion formation and an ever-present influence, sometimes open, sometimes hidden, on the daily headline news. In Conspiracy Theories, philosophers of diverse backgrounds and persuasions focus their lenses on the phenomenon of the conspiracy theory, its psychological causes, its typical shape, and its political consequences. Among the questions addressed: ● What’s the formula for designing a contagious conspiracy theory? ● Where does conspiracy theorizing end and investigative reporting begin? ● What can we learn about conspiracy theories from the three movie treatments of the Kennedy assassination (The Parallax View, JFK, and Interview with the Assassin)? ● Does political powerlessness generate conspiracy theories? ● Is conspiracy theorizing essentially an instinct that lies behind all belief in religion and all striving for a meaningful life? ● Can we find conspiracy theories in all political movements for centuries past? ● What are the most common types of fallacious reasoning that tend to support conspiracy theories? ● Is there a psychological disorder at the root of conspiracy theories? ● Why is the number of flat-earthers growing?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812694833
Publisher: Open Court Publishing Company
Publication date: 01/07/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Richard Greene is Professor of Philosophy at Weber State University in Utah. He is co-editor of many volumes in the Popular Culture and Philosophy series, the most recent being Westworld and Philosophy with Joshua Heter.

Table of Contents

Thanks xi

If Only There Were a Vaccine against Gullibility xiii

Part I "If you only assume a big enough conspiracy, you can explain anything, including the cosmos itself." 1

1 From Alien Shape-shifting Lizards to the Dodgy Dossier M R.X. Dentith 3

2 The Greatest Conspiracy Theory Movies Mark Huston 13

3 Everyone's a Conspiracy Theorist Charles Pigden 23

4 How to Build a Conspiracy Theory Brett Coppenger Joshua Heter 35

5 How Fallacies Fuel Conspiracies David Kyle Johnson 45

Part II "It's who's controlling the Illuminati that I'm more concerned about." 57

6 Falling Off the Edge of the Earth Courtland Lewis Gregory L. Bock 59

7 That's… One Giant Joke on Mankind? Jeff Cervantez 71

8 Witch Hunts Alexander E. Hooke 79

9 Racial Genocide Theories Rod Carveth 91

10 Do Climate Skeptics Have to Be Conspiracy Theorists? Don Fallis 99

Part III "The best kept secrets are those in plain sight." 107

11 Are Collectives More Conspiratorial than Individuals? Eduardo Vicentini De Medeiros Marco Antonio Azevedo 109

12 Here's the Secret on Voter Fraud-It's Complicated Gary Johnson 119

13 Vaccination, Autism, and Trust Kendal Beazer 127

14 Leninism, Astroturfing, and Conservatism Daniel Krasner 137

15 Elders and Brothers Ron Hirschbein Amin Aspari 153

Part IV "The trouble with conspiracies is that they rot internally." 165

16 The Defining Conspiracy James Rocha Mona Rocha 167

17 Should You Be Wearing a Tinfoil Hat? Michael Goldsby W. John Koolage 179

18 The Wrong Thinking in Conspiracy Theories Brendan Shea 193

19 How Can I Say This without Sounding Crazy? Paul Lewis 203

Bibliography 215

The Illuminati 219

Index 225

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