I’ve been there before.
So, on the 22nd of February I will be attending a workshop entitled â€˜The Political and Social Impact of Rumoursâ€™ at the Centre of Excellence for National Security at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
I’m giving an updated version of the Rumour paper from several AAPs ago, entitled “Have You Heard? The Rumour as Reliable.”1
Because it is an updated paper I’m weirdly non-plussed about giving it (well, more so than usual) and I should be, if not concerned, a bit excited. This is a multi-disciplinary workshop, which means I’ll have to persuade non-philosophers as to my argument that we should treat Rumours as reliable, and I’ve been invited to attend, so presumably someone thinks sufficiently of me to want to get me to Singapore for a day2.
It also means I’ve got very little to say about the paper at this moment in time. Whilst it is a keystone of the thesis (well, I think it is) and it provides me with a little project to work on post the thesis, I haven’t really been over the material in any depth for about a year. I need to start looking over it again and make it a little non-philosopher friendly.
Which is very much a task for a tomorrow. This is a very boring post, isn’t it? I’m not very exciting at the moment; I’m all about the thesis rewriting and not about the frolics.
Except for tomorrow; I’m going to the beach!
- Abstract: We have all heard Rumours. Some of us have even suffered because of them, often because they revealed something personal that we did not want to be publicly known or disseminated. Drawing on recent work by philosophers CAJ Coady and David Coady I will develop a theory which exploits the distinction between Rumours and Rumour-mongering. Whilst it seems true to think that mere Rumour-mongering, the act of passing on a Rumour maliciously, presents what can be called a ‘pathology’ of the normally reliable transmission of beliefs (which is usually associated with Testimony) I will argue that Rumours themselves have a reliable transmission process and thus can be examples of justified beliefs.
This analysis will then feed into a discussion of Conspiracy Theories, which share many salient features with Rumours but, quite often, must be contrasted with their non-conspiratorial, rival, theories. I will argue that whilst Rumours are reliable (as a mechanism for the transmission of justified beliefs) Conspiracy Theories are prima facie unreliable because of these rival, non-conspiratorial, theories.↩
- If I were a Conspiracy Theorist I’d be concerned as to what that might mean.↩