Research Seminar

Daniel Cohnitz: Trust no one? The (social) epistemological consequences of belief in conspiracy theories

Date: 28 November 2018
Time: 14:00-16:00

Daniel Cohnitz, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, Utrecht University.


Conspiracy theorists are typically skeptical about the trustworthiness of central governmental institutions. Some philosophers have argued that, therefore, conspiracy theorists play an important role in modern democracies. Their scepticism may lead to the exposure of actual governmental conspiracies and it strengthens institutions of open societies that control the different branches of government. We argue that this optimism is misplaced. Believe in false conspiracy theories doesn’t make one interested in strong controlling institutions. On the contrary, it is not surprising that the conspiracy theorists that voted people like Trump into office don’t mind at all when the president questions the very legitimacy of such institutions.

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