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Monthly Archives: August 2013

What is the problem with conspiracy theories?
What is the problem with conspiracy theories?

One of the panels at the conference I’m currently attending was devoted to the psychology of conspiracy theorizing. It looks extremely interesting (more later), but in this post I just want to pay attention to the question why, exactly, conspiracy theorizing is a problem. So why are conspiracy theories problematic? And why in particular are they […]

30 August 2013
Conspiracy as Governance

I recently came across a 2006 essay by Julian Assange titled “Conspiracy as Governance” (extract here, fuller version here) and I thought it might be worth at least a brief comment as well as a link. He writes that in authoritarian regimes conspiracy – or conspiratorial interaction among the political elite – is the primary […]

28 August 2013
Hindsight and its drawbacks (updated)

Hindsight, as the saying goes, is the only exact science. It can also be a liability, because it enables us to view events of the past – and contemporary theories about them – with an unwarranted degree of condescension. That was one of the most useful insights provided by Thomas Kuhn’s work on the history […]

25 August 2013
There are conspiracy theories and conspiracy theories

“The reason there are conspiracy theories”, runs an old adage, “is because sometimes people conspire”. They do, which is one reason why the sneering condescension with which people talk about conspiracy theories is, well, unwise. It may make statistical sense (because the majority of conspiracy theories are unfounded), but it’s not good epistemology, because sometimes […]

20 August 2013