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The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theory: 4 Recent Publications

Wed, 2018-10-17 19:22
Conspiracy Theory: A Philosophical Defense  (A booklet for general audiences)

SUMMARY: The phrase “conspiracy theory” is often used as a pejorative, especially by people who take themselves to be sophisticated—such as scholars, government officials, and TV news personalities—even though they will generally admit that some conspiracy theories have turned out to be true. Their dismissiveness stems, in significant measure, from the assumption that conspiracy theories imply implausibly large and malevolent conspiracies. However, the considerations offered in this booklet suggest: (1) conspiracy theories need not, and often do not, posit malevolence or implausible motivations, (2) alleged conspirators holding high office in Western countries should not be regarded as above suspicion, and (3) the scope of a (possibly well-motivated) cover-up may reasonably be expected to be considerably larger than the scope of the associated (possibly appalling) underlying conspiracy. The third finding suggests that conspiracy theories that are generally regarded as implausibly large based on the size of what may seem to be a cover-up (much of which may not be conspiratorial) may not be implausibly large after all. All this suggests that dismissing conspiracy theories because they are presumed to entail implausibly large and malevolent conspiracy theories is a mistake. Rather, each theory ought to be judged on its own particular merits, focusing on the most plausible version. 

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Why Did the Secret Service Report That a Plane Had Crashed into the White House on 9/11?

Mon, 2018-10-15 08:42

Firefighters were called out to a major incident that supposedly occurred at the White House, minutes after the Pentagon was attacked on September 11, 2001. The Secret Service had reported that a plane had crashed into the home of the U.S. president, the building was on fire, and there had been a structural collapse. However, when members of the District of Columbia Fire Department arrived on the scene, it quickly became apparent to them that no such incident had taken place and they were promptly ordered to leave.

While it might be claimed that this incident was merely the result of confusion in the middle of an unprecedented crisis, there is an alternative explanation for it. Evidence suggests the Secret Service could have been running a training exercise on the morning of September 11, which included the scenario of a plane crashing into the White House.

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