Lecture: Rumour, Conspiracy Theory & Propaganda

Title:  Rumour, Conspiracy Theory and Propaganda

Date & Time: 21st Mar 2012 5:00pm-6:30pm

Speaker:  Dr David Coady

Venue:  Lecture Room, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, 10 Merton Street, Oxford OX1 4JJ

Abstract: Rumour and conspiracy theory are closely linked in both the popular imagination and academic debate, with the rumour often portrayed as a vehicle of conspiracy theory. They are also linked inasmuch as they are both typically thought to be bad things. In this paper I will defend rumour and conspiracy theory (along with rumour-mongers and conspiracy theorists) against some of their most prominent critics, and I will argue that campaigns against them are a form of propaganda (or, to be precise, two closely related forms of propaganda).

Bio: David Coady is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Tasmania. Most of his current research is on applied epistemology. He has particular interests in rumours, conspiracy theories, the blogosphere, Wikipedia, expertise, and democratic theory. He has also published on the metaphysics of causation, philosophy of law, cricket ethics, police ethics, and the ethics of horror films. He has published in a wide variety of journals, including Episteme and the Journal of Applied Philosophy. He is the author of What to Believe Now: Applying Epistemology to Contemporary Issues and the editor of Conspiracy Theories: The Philosophical Debate.

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