Popper Revisited, or What Is Wrong With Conspiracy Theories?

  title={Popper Revisited, or What Is Wrong With Conspiracy Theories?},
  author={Charles R. Pigden},
  journal={Philosophy of the Social Sciences},
  pages={3 - 34}
  • C. Pigden
  • Published 1995
  • Philosophy
  • Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Conpiracy theories are widely deemed to be superstitious. Yet history appears to be littered with conspiracies successful and otherwise. (For this reason, "cock-up" theories cannot in general replace conspiracy theories, since in many cases the cock-ups are simply failed conspiracies.) Why then is it silly to suppose that historical events are sometimes due to conspiracy? The only argument available to this author is drawn from the work of the late Sir Karl Popper, who criticizes what he calls… Expand
1 Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom Revisited
Conspiracy theories should be neither believed nor investigated that is the conventional wisdom. I argue that it is sometimes permissible both to investigate and to believe. Hence this is a disputeExpand
On Political Conspiracy Theories
IT is often pointed out that political conspiracy theories are of limited falsifiability. Government officials’ public statements and testimonies in a court of law that contradict a conspiracy theoryExpand
When Inferring to a Conspiracy might be the Best Explanation
Conspiracy theories are typically thought to be examples of irrational beliefs, and thus unlikely to be warranted. However, recent work in Philosophy has challenged the claim that belief inExpand
On the Ethical Acceptability of Conspiracy Theories
The philosophical discussion on conspiracy theories has mainly concerned epistemic questions, but some authors have also considered the desirability of conspiracy theorizing [1]. Creating andExpand
Conspiracy theories on the basis of the evidence
It is argued that whatever the authors might think about conspiracy theories generally, there is no prima facie case for a scepticism of conspiracy theories based purely on their use of evidence. Expand
Conspiracy Theories and the Paranoid Style: Do Conspiracy Theories Posit Implausibly Vast and Evil Conspiracies?
Abstract In the social science literature, conspiracy theories are commonly characterized as theories positing a vast network of evil and preternaturally effective conspirators, and they are oftenExpand
Conspiracy Theories and Evidential Self-Insulation
What are conspiracy theories? And what, if anything, is epistemically wrong with them? I offer an account on which conspiracy theories are a unique way of holding a belief in a conspiracy.Expand
Manipulation, Exaggeration and Conspiracy. Experimental Approaches to a Better Understanding of the Belief in Conspiracy Theories.
This dissertation will explore conspiracy theories from a psychological viewpoint—both theoretically and empirically. Conspiracy theories are introduced here as a phenomenon relevant for many aspectsExpand
“The Truth Is Out There” : Conspiracy culture in an age of epistemic instability
markdownabstractConspiracy theories are extremely popular: millions of people in the western world no longer trust epistemic authorities (such as science, media and politics) and resort to conspiracyExpand
Expertise and Conspiracy Theories
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 beExpand


Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective
This is a well-researched, and frequently entertaining, account of the rise and fall of the House Committee on Un-American activities. Fried describes the growth of the kind of paranoid andExpand
History of Science and Its Rational Reconstructions
  • I. Lakatos
  • Sociology
  • PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
  • 1970
“Philosophy of science without history of science is empty; history of science without philosophy of science is blind”. Taking its cue from this paraphrase of Kant’s famous dictum, this paper intendsExpand
The Idea of History.
In this book, published posthumously, R. G. Collingwood considers how the modern idea of history has grown up from the time of Herodotus to the present day. To Collingwood, 'history is not containedExpand
The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell. Volume I, An Age like This, 1920-1940; Volume II, My Country Right or Left, 1940-1943; Volume III, As I Please, 1943-1945; Volume IV, In Front of Your Nose, 1945-1950
This last volume contains the letters, reviews and other pieces which George Orwell wrote during the last five years of his life; they include "Such, Such Were the Joys", a reminiscence of hisExpand
Sir Robert Walpole
A classic, set during the Napoleonic wars, giving a satiricl picture of a worldly society and revolving around the exploits of two women from very different backgrounds.
Screwtape proposes a toast
  • History of England,
  • 1965
The poverty of historicism. London and Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul. &mdash
  • The high tide of prophecy: Hegel, Marx and the aftermath
  • 1966
Seventy-five years on: The Great October Revolution as a clandes
  • 1992
references made to the paperback
  • 1989
Revolution in the family
  • 1988