Impossible Knowledge: Conspiracy Theories, Power, and Truth

1st Edition

Todor Hristov Dechev

Routledge
January 28, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 128 Pages
ISBN 9781138346826 - CAT# K394828
Series: Conspiracy Theories

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Summary

Conspiracy theorists claim impossible knowledge, for example of the doings of a secret world government. Yet they accept this impossible knowledge as truth. In effect, conspiracy theories detach truth from knowledge.

Knowledge without power is powerless. And the impossible knowledge claimed by conspiracy theorists is so rigorously excluded from the regimes of truth and power, that is not even wrong. Yet conspiratorial knowledge is potent enough to be studied by researches, and recognized as a risk by the experts and the authorities.

Therefore in order to understand conspiracy theories, we need to think of truth beyond knowledge and power. That is impossible for any scientific discipline, because it takes for granted that truth comes from knowledge, and that truth is powerful enough to destroy the legitimacy of any authority that would dare to conceal or manipulate it. Since science is unable to make sense of conspiracy theories, it treats conspiracy theorists as individuals who fail to make sense, and explains their persistent nonsense by some cognitive, behavioral, or social dysfunction.

Fortunately, critical theory has developed tools able to conceive truth beyond knowledge and power, and hence to make sense of conspiracy theories. This book organizes them into a toolbox, which will enable students and researchers to analyze conspiracy theories as practices of the self geared at self-empowerment, a sort of political self-help.

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