Well, that seemed to go well (or did it? Attendees might think differently). Here’s the text I was working from:
The paper is, in essence, going to be part of the introduction to the thesis; it will be a motivational piece designed to show that there is an important project in Philosophy on the topic of Conspiracy Theories. As an introduction I imagine it will need a little revision; it’s a bit bracey and pacey at this stage and some of the examples are there to illicit commentary in question time.
As to comments… Well, one attendee wanted to know more about errant data and the notion that Conspiracy Theories seem too explanatory. So do I; had the paper been longer I would have gone into Steve Clarke’s material on the matter. As it stands this will probably end up as a footnote in the post-presentation version, ready for incorporation come its implementation as a thesis introduction.
Another matter arising was the question of whether the magnitude of the alleged Conspiracy relates to the notion of there being godlike conspirators. I’m tempted to say no, if only because some minor looking Conspiracy Theories (North Head, for example) seem very godlike despite the relative unimportance of the actual ends of the alleged Conspiracy. Then again, it’s all subjective, isn’t it?
Finally, there were questions as to whether Conspiracy Theories must be malevolent. I say no, but that’s contentious and I am going to have to defend that view in a few months time when I start on my next (out of order) chapter.
Time to go and teach.