A conspiracy theory is an explanatory proposition that accuses two or more persons, a group, or an organization of having caused or covered up, through secret planning and deliberate action, an illegal or harmful event or situation.
Some scholars suggest that people formulate conspiracy theories to explain, for example, power relations in social groups and the existence of evil forces. It has been suggested by some thinkers that conspiracy theories have chiefly psychological or socio-political origins. Proposed psychological origins include projection; the personal need to explain “a significant event [with] a significant cause;" and the product of various kinds and stages of thought disorder, such as paranoid disposition, ranging in severity to diagnosable mental illnesses. Similarly, socio-political origins may be discovered in the need of people to believe in event causation rather than suffer the insecurity of a random world and universe.
The effects of a world view that places conspiracy theories centrally in the unfolding of history have been debated, with some saying that it has become “the dominant paradigm of political action in the public mind." Although the term "conspiracy theory" has acquired a derogatory meaning over time and is often used to dismiss or ridicule beliefs in conspiracies including ones that turn out to be real, it has also continued to be used by some to refer to actual, proven conspiracies, such as U.S. President Richard Nixon and his aides conspiring to cover up Watergate.
Source : Wikipedia
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