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Conceptualizing and understanding the contemporary popularity of conspiracy theories : re-thinking Karl Popper

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2005
Nefes, Türkay
This thesis attempts to understand and conceptualize the contemporary popularity of conspiracy theories. While doing this, conspiracy theories are approached as symptoms of current society. Moreover, the issue of what peculiar characteristics of contemporary society are responsible from conspiracy theories has been discussed. Heretofore, the concept of conspiracy theory is defined and its dangerous traits such as, being anti-scientific knowledge types and their ability to be used by fundamentalist ideologies, have been elaborated. In this regard, the success of conspiracy theories is associated with a crisis of modern ideals of society. In this context, Karl Popper̕s أOpen Societyؤ ideal and his scientific methodology was updated and stressed upon to widen the discussion on conspiracy theories with the reason that Popperian logic offer crucial solutions about widespread conspiracy theories. Lastly, and in parallel to Popper̕s deductive logic, the arguments about the reasons of conspiracy theories are tested within the context of two different discussions. First, a discussion on Turkish cultural transformation after 1980s was made in order to understand whether the symptoms which were held responsible from popularity of conspiracy theories are applicable and observable in the Turkish case or not. As a second part, the analysis of a book Efendi, which is a popular conspiracy theory in Turkey will be discussed. In consequence, conspiracy theories and conspirational thinking are presented as important and dangerous symptoms of current society, whose reasons should be understood and conceptualized for the sake of peace and democracy.