[SydPhil] FW: Talk tomorrow on Conspiracy Theories

Debbie Castle debbie.castle at sydney.edu.au
Thu May 18 14:23:51 AEST 2017

Dear All,

Talk tomorrow Friday 19th :

"Online conspiracy theorizing and the psychology of trust"
Friday May 19th, 4pm
Carslaw 275

Conspiracy theorising plays an increasingly important (and pernicious) role in social and political discourse. Psychological study of conspiracy endorsement tends to be hampered by selection bias and difficulties of access. I will present research which uses automated analysis of a large corpus of comments from the conspiracy forum on the online site reddit.com<http://reddit.com/>. We demonstrate that there are a variety of distinct sub-communities with different interests and potentially different pathways into the forum, suggesting that no comprehensive psychological theory will be adequate to explain the dynamics of such communities. Further, while conspiracy theories may seem illogical or baffling, in many cases conspiracy theorising follows well-established epistemic norms. I suggest an alternative, social view on which conspiracy theorising might be better seen to illuminate of flaws in the default attitude towards testimony and rumour in complex societies.
Colin Klein
ARC Future Fellow
Department of Philosophy, and
ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD)
Macquarie University
colin.klein at mq.edu.au<mailto:colin.klein at mq.edu.au>

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