conspiracy theory

EnglishEdit

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NounEdit

conspiracy theory (plural conspiracy theories)

  1. A hypothesis alleging that the members of a coordinated group are, and/or were, secretly working together to commit illegal or wrongful actions including attempting to hide the existence of the group and its activities. In notable cases the hypothesis contradicts the mainstream explanation for historical or current events.
    • Pigden, Charles R (2007) "Conspiracy Theories and the Conventional Wisdom" Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology Volume 4, Issue 2, Edinburgh University Press pp. 222 DOI: 10.1353/epi.2007.0017
      "(A) conspiracy theory is simply a theory that posits a conspiracy – a secret plan on the part of some group to influence events by partly secret means."
  2. (dismissive) Hypothetical speculation that is untrue or outlandish.
    • 2007, Rick Huffman, Baxter Peanut, Xlibris Corporation, ISBN 1425737196, page 153:
      “So, like I’m Rock Hudson? I’m not sure that’s the answer.”
      “Ah,” Lola smiles knowingly, “that’s all just a conspiracy theory. He enjoyed the ladies too.”

Usage notesEdit

  • The phrase conspiracy theory is sometimes used in an attempt to imply that hypothetical speculation is not worthy of serious consideration, usually with phrasing indicative of dismissal (e.g., "just a conspiracy theory"). However, any particular instance of use is not necessarily pejorative. Some consider it inappropriate to use the phrase "conspiracy theory" in an attempt to dismissively discredit hypothetical speculation in any form.

TranslationsEdit

Derived termsEdit

Last modified on 5 March 2014, at 17:05