Analyzing of Conspiracy Theories Essay.
In what ways can the theories expressed by Gilbert, Pigden and Wood et al explain how evidence interacts with belief in a conspiracy theory?
Type of paper:
Essay (any type)
Format or citation style:
Deadline: 18 hours
Required Reading #1, Theoretical Frames: at least two of Gilbert’s “Immune to Reality”; Pigden’s “Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom”; Wood et al’s “Dead and Alive…”
Required Reading #2, Case Studies: you must use Icke or Pizzagate- if you don’t use one of the two, you must still use a second conspiracy as a case study source. Essentially, this means I’m giving you the option of picking a conspiracy theory that you may want to spend the rest of the semester focused on to use for this analytical paper to use instead of Icke or Pizzagate.
Pigden argues that the conventional wisdom regarding conspiracy theories “is deeply unwise” (219). His call to examine evidence may be in conflict with Wood et al’s findings that belief in conspiracies is not contingent on contradictory evidence, but on “broader beliefs supporting conspiracy theories in general”, or a monological belief system (1). And Gilbert analyzes the mechanics of broader belief systems by demonstrating the unreliable nature of predicting our emotions.
This brings us to our two case studies: Icke’s The Biggest Secret and Pizzagate. Your task in this Analytic Essay is to apply the theoretical frameworks to Icke and Pizzagate, or a second conspiracy of your choosing. Please develop an independent thesis which you will use evidence from the required text to prove and that responds to the follow prompt: In what ways can the theories expressed by Gilbert, Pigden and Wood et al explain how evidence interacts with belief in a conspiracy theory?
Remember to defend your argument with evidence from the text.
You *must use* a minimum of four sources for this paper- two framing sources, two case studies. You are welcome to use five sources- please do not use more than five. The only additional research you may need to do will be to find a source describing a conspiracy theory, if you choose to not use either Icke or Pizzagate.
Analyzing of Conspiracy Theories
The understanding and the belief in conspiracy theories raises eyebrows as to why they arise and spread in the first place. Conspiracies theories in their typical nature encompass an inner epistemic inquisition about the various phenomenon. It is evident to form thoughts and beliefs on conspiracies despite having control over what constitutes conspiracy (Icke 16). It is against the principle of conventional wisdom that conspiracy theories turn out to be a central focus and even grows into pressing queries in different fields such as politics and psychology (Wood et al., 769). Nevertheless, conspiracy theories represent a form of epistemic query about a probable pack of facts and are fundamental in the fields of political science and psychology among others. The central articulation of this paper is a comprehensive analysis of conspiracy theories framework and the resulting implication in the epistemology and real-life situations.
Theoretical Framework of Conspiracy theory
Conspiracy theories in Political Landscape
The foundation and the burden of proof of the suspect allegations presumed a baseless argument and reduced to manipulative ploys to castigate political mileage. Conspiracy theories encompass queries and suspicion of serious and delicate matters whereas the conspiracy could only turn out to be a typical ploy as it was the case for one political conspiracy master Tony Blair (Pigden 219). Conspiracy theories can be reduced to an incomplete and unfounded expression which should not be existent in the first place. In the case of American politics, Tony Blair represents the pinnacle of conspiracies since at no one single time did he provide material proofs to affirm his claims and suspicion. The word goes rounds that the invasion of Iraq was all about Oil and that President Bush considered bombing Al Jazeera all turned out fallacious and despicable conspiracy theories (Pigden 219).
In the most basic form of belief, conspiracies constitute queries of particular matters of interest aiming at clouding a particular interest in the thoughts of the people. In the political landscape, conspiracies are more common than not, and the attention is turned on the reaction of followers of political affiliations. Conspiracies lives amongst us and in most cases influence our perception of specific matters in life (Pigden 223). The belief-forming strategies are a common and universal to the approach of handling conspiracies. Arguably, the epistemic alignment regarding conspiracy theories provides that the ‘oughts’ relating to conspiracies are merely attainable with a brink of an eye which is not the case (Pigden 224). It is hence imperative to alter the epistemic scope on conspiracy theories and the approach to belief-forming.
Conspiracies in Psychological studies
Many psychological studies arguments on psychological conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, and others in a negative scope. Nevertheless, the rise of psychologist movement to concentrate on positives and argument positivism in the study of psychological conditions stimulates a new definition in the field. It is argued that the study on affective forecast or the predictive approach of how people emotionally react in future relative to their current situation is false and incorrect (Gilbert 130). An analytical study of the role of uncertainties and the unexpected in the pursuit of happiness among humans presumes a different view on the affective approach (Gilbert 130). The basic conditioning of psychological studies focusing on a particular group of people and leaving out on the others is a fundamental concern.
One of the significant discoveries of ‘positive psychology’ is the inconsistencies in the experimental failure of people to predict their future emotion or happiness even upon attaining what they sought most. Typically, we assume that we could capitalize on the inability of individuals to articulately deliberate on predicting their emotional status by avoiding similar mistakes which is ultimately false. Notably, we often fall victims of a psychological immune system that caution us against major setbacks but at the same time become complacent in handling minor setbacks which could rather have worst implications (Gilbert 132). There are serious questions in the way human approach their mental well-being in totality whereby the convention about the pursuit of happiness could be the wrong way to go.
Our perception regarding the search of happiness is relative and deterministic to the end result of our pursuit of happiness. In many occasions, the conditioning of a self-oriented deception comes unconsciously, and we fall victims of our own trick of favorable beliefs and facts. The exposure to favorable facts upon low standards of evidence converts us into victims of sticking and believing in non-existent conspiracies. The conspicuous ploys against oneself represent a condition to finding solace but also is a deprival of realism in the pursuit of our happiness needs. An experiment on Osten and his horse, Clever Hans reflects on how the psychological immune system brings about false and manipulative schemes. Conspiracy theories have a huge claim at psychological process hence calling into questions strategies to handle the conspiracies (Gilbert 136).
Case Analysis (Dead and Alive: Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories)
In the general form of conspiracy theories, they are nothing more than baseless and non-provable suspicion and claims borne out of individual’s belief-forming strategy. It is thus common knowledge to object and strongly oppose the idea of closing in and believing in the conspiracies (Pigden 228). Nevertheless, more often than not, it is almost impossible to turn away from a suspicion raised against a matter of interest, and we find ourselves believe and following the flow of conspiracy theories. Although some conspiracy theories may seem silly and baseless, they only contain flawed or deficit proof and under no obligation should we waive an interest of belief and investigation into conspiracy theories (Wood et al., 767). However much we proclaim beliefs and non-belief of the conspiracy theories, constitute a massive philosophical burden.
The generation of conspiracies rests on a personal quest of a positive view of personal experience and could easily be turned into public focus and a tool of destruction of beliefs (Icke 11). The psychological conditioning of individuals is relative and applies indefinitely in the interest in conspiracy theories. Humans have lost their minds and responsibility whereby they opt for what is right for their own needs (Icke 2). Psychological conditioning relies on two reasons which are positive views of our experience or false manipulation with the intent of castigating an immunity against reality (Gilbert 132). To a greater extent, humanity suffers through ignorance and denial of the truth and settle for what pleases them psychologically (Gilbert 134). The belief in false claims of suspicion and allegation is inevitable although our sole responsibility lies our reaction to the matter.
The provision of epistemic freedom is utterly misplaced in the proclamation of beliefs and non-beliefs in conspiracy theories. The decision to beliefs in conspiracy theories or not to is subjective of the weight of evidence to alter our Ought-Implies-Can proposition. The inquisition on the ethics of beliefs provides that conspiracy theories only encompass a compelling message and intention which only crowds our considerations into believing or non-believing but decision and choices are not a part of the process (Icke 47). The provision that we could control our beliefs-forming strategy (epistemic ethics) and deliberate on believing or not choices are false and wrongly crafted. The belief and pursuit of the conspiracy theories are well in line and conforms to undue influence to look into a suspicious suggestion by conspiracy theorists (Pigden 224).
Conspiracy theorist constructs states of psychological satisfaction and a state of happiness (Gilbert 130). Nevertheless, the proposition of conventional wisdom to turn a blind eye to conspiracies relies on assumptions and existence of a controlled strategy on beliefs- forming. Typically, conspiracies theories represent intellectual charms and ploys by the proposers hence it incorporates massive influence to draw immense interest in the suspicions. Conspiracy theories are not lesser arguments than all others and therefore could be worthy to investigate and critically analyze (Wood et al., 770). The belief-forming strategies are fundamental in the attitude towards being convinced or not by the proposition of the conspiracy theories or not.
Conclusively, it would be absurd and improper to turn away the interest in conspiracy theories on the foundation that they are just mere and baseless suspicions. Some conspiracies are good time and resources to investigate to achieve an informed perception on matters of interest. The theoretical framework of conspiracy theory provides a contemplative reflection on the inception of the conspiracy theories and the resulting consequences regarding the observance of epistemic ethics in handling conspiracies. Humanity faces tough times to deal with false and unfounded facts. Conspiracies transform from psychological issues to a personal problem and at large communal disaster where an entire society is nourished with lies and false claims. Consequently, the society gradually suffocates out of malnourishment and is deprived of the most common principle of rationality.
Wood, Michael J., Karen M. Douglas, and Robbie M. Sutton. “Dead and Alive: Beliefs in contradictory conspiracy theories.” Social Psychological and Personality Science 3.6 (2012): 767-773.
Icke, David. The biggest secret. Wildwood,, UK: Bridge of Love, 1999.
Daniel, Gilbert. “Stumbling on happiness.” New York (2006).
Pigden, Charles. “Conspiracy theories and the conventional wisdom.” Episteme 4.2 (2007): 219-232.