In the culture wars that are being waged to define our communal values, the rhetorical arms race has generated a healthy stockpile of words and phrases that are often deployed in linguistic combat. Amongst this arsenal, few terms weave together so many cultural threads as “Conspiracy Theory.”
From such seemingly disparate threads as the philosophy of language, epistemology, political philosophy, history, journalism, psychology, and sociology, a Gordian tangle emerges that tie all of these subjects together.
This writing will endeavor to briefly:
- contextualize the epistemological difficulties of attaining certainty
- examine the tenuous nature of news and history with a focus on its manipulation
- enumerate a truncated list of historical conspiracies with the purpose of underscoring their unexceptional nature
- examine the historical and contemporary usage of the term “conspiracy theory”
- leave the reader with a general approach to sidestepping the pitfalls of rhetorical obfuscation and semantic misunderstanding