What Is It to Explain Extreme Belief and Behavior? – Lecture by Rik Peels VU Amsterdam 15-09-22

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What Is It to Explain Extreme Belief and Behavior? – Lecture by Rik Peels VU Amsterdam 15-09-22

Date Published: 15 September 2022

Lecture by Rik Peels for the Explaining Extreme Beliefs and Extreme Behavior Workshop, at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam on 15-09-22, titled: What Is It to Explain Extreme Belief and Behavior?

This lecture seeks an answer to the question of what it is to explain extremism, in other words exactly what we are doing in seeking explanations of extremism (and similarly for conspiracy theorizing, fundamentalism, terrorism, and other related phenomena). Rather than providing yet another explanation of extremism, it takes a bird’s eye point of view at existing explanations of extreme belief and behavior as found in extremism, fundamentalism, fanaticism, conspiracy theorizing, and terrorism. Are scholars who are providing or trying to provide explanations all actually doing the same thing? And do they have the same conception or different conceptions of when something counts as a successful explanation of extremism? This lecture provides an analysis of different kinds of academic explanations and defends a view of which ones are relevant to explaining extremism. It provides concrete guidelines that will help in fine-tuning and properly comparing various explanations of extremism.

Dr. Rik Peels is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion & Theology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He currently leads the ERC project Extreme Beliefs and co-leads the TWCF-funded project Epistemic Progress in the University. He is the author of Ignorance: A Philosophical Study (Oxford University Press, 2022), Life without God: An Outsider’s Look at Atheism (Cambridge University Press, 2022), and Responsible Belief: A Theory in Ethics and Epistemology (Oxford University Press, 2017), and (co-)edited The Cambridge Companion to Common-Sense Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Scientific Challenges to Common Sense Philosophy (Routledge, 2020), Scientism: Prospects and Problems (Oxford University Press, 2019), Perspectives on Ignorance from Moral and Social Philosophy (Routledge, 2017) and The Epistemic Dimensions of Ignorance (Cambridge University Press, 2016).