Philosophy Professor Brian Keeley Hosts Conference on Conspiracy Theory at Pitzer

Professor of Philosophy Brian Keeley
Brian Keeley, Professor of Philosophy

Claremont, Calif. (January 31, 2022)—Pitzer College Professor of Philosophy Brian L. Keeley is hosting the 1st International Conference on the Philosophy of Conspiracy Theory February 3-6, 2022. The conference, which will be entirely online, explores new literature focusing on conspiracy theory as an epistemic problem as well as work dating back to the late ’90s that set the foundation for approaching conspiracy theory as a philosophical question.

Keeley is considered one of the pioneers in the philosophy of conspiracy theory. He will deliver the keynote speech, “Conspiracy Theory and (or as) Folk Psychology,” on the opening night of the conference. His talk will be followed by a panel, “The History of Conspiracy Theory Theory,” with another trailblazer in the field, Associate Professor Charles Pigden of Otago University in New Zealand, and Associate Professor M R. X. Dentith of Beijing Normal University at Zhuhai, who helped organize the conference.

Conference participants come from all over the world. One panel—“Future Research Avenues in Conspiracy Theory Theory”—features experts in Dublin, Ireland; Lund, Sweden; Zhuhai, China; and Cerritos, California. The range of talks and discussions reflect what conference organizers call “an explosion of literature on conspiracy theories in philosophy” in the past decade, from “‘Conspiracy Theory’, Relevant Alternatives, and the Problem of Premature Knowledge Claims” to “Conspiracy Theories and the Harms to Scientists: a Case for a Pseudoscientific Epistemic Injustice.”

Event times are scheduled for an international audience and participants. On the first day of the conference, the last talk starts just before midnight Pacific Time; on the last day, talks begin at midnight PT. More information about the conference program and registration is available on the conference website. The public can attend the virtual webinar talks but must register to receive Zoom links.

Brian Keeley teaches philosophy and neuroscience at Pitzer. In addition to the epistemology of conspiracy theories, his research interests include the philosophy of artificial life and artificial intelligence, and the sciences of sensory perception. His influential essay, “Of Conspiracy Theories,” was published in 1999 in the Journal of Philosophy and is considered one of the foundational works in the philosophy of conspiracy theories. In the 2017-18 academic year, Keeley organized a series of talks as part of the Pitzer’s Munroe Center for Social Inquiry (MCSI) speaker series about the social phenomena surrounding conspiracy theories. Keeley earned his undergraduate degree at the University of South Alabama and his PhD at the University of California, San Diego.

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