SCIECONS - Science and Conspiracy
Dealing with Scientific Denialism, Distrust of Expertise and Conspiracy Theories
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AND WORKSHOP.
University of Padova, Padova, Italy. November 28-30, 2016
The program: here
About the scope and aims of the conference
As you know, there is already some ongoing research on conspiracy theories, on the relations between science and democracy, on rational argumentation and the social medias, as well as on scientific denialism and the role of scientific expertise. Studies on these subjects are conducted from a wide range of perspectives: philosophical, sociological, anthropological, and psychological.
Now, while there is a more or less consolidated literature on conspiracy theories per se, it seems to us that the relationship between conspiracy theories and questions regarding scientific expertise has not been thoroughly investigated. Yet there is an intrinsic link, it can be argued, between denialism, conspiracy theories and the consideration of scientific expertise, and this intersection area seems a promising object of study, possibly well worth a dedicated conference. Denialism is the negation of an official explanation operated by casting on this official version the suspect of it being the result of a conspiracy, and it inherently implies the allegation, on the part of the deniers, of a conspiracy committed by official and mainstream organisations in order to undermine the deniers’ credibility. Conspiracy theorizing, in turn, implies the necessity of doubting the reliability of expertise, and of doubting in general the reliability of official social sources of information, such as institutions and science.
We think that this intersection between questions regarding conspiracy theories, denialism, and scientific expertise is an area which deserves to be brought into focus, and this is precisely the goal of the SCIECONS event. The literature networks and research lines about conspiracy proper and about denialism and expertise seem at the moment quite disjoint. Our aim is that of making the intersections between them emerge. The very point of the conference resides in letting scholars from these research lines meet and confront in order to bring out these common points between research on conspiracy theories, on scientific expertise, and on denialism.
To this regard, we have noticed a lot of value in disparate researches conducted by several European scholars in different contexts and different disciplines. Our aim has been to bring them to an interdisciplinary common event where free discussion and valuable intellectual exchanges can take place, with the hope to possibly give birth to future European collaborations and projects. And we hope that this can be only the first of a series of conferences on the subject.
The Steering committee of SCIECONS: Pierdaniele Giaretta, Fabio Grigenti, Philippe Huneman, Anouk Barberousse, Marion Vorms, Luca Rivelli