David Coady is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Tasmania. He is the author of What to Believe Now: Applying Epistemology to Contemporary Issues and the editor of Conspiracy Theories: The Philosophical Debate.
Rumour and conspiracy theory are closely linked in both the popular imagination and academic debate, with the rumour often portrayed as a vehicle of conspiracy theory. They are also linked inasmuch as they are both typically thought to be bad things. In this paper I will defend rumour and conspiracy theory (along with rumour-mongers and conspiracy theorists) against some of their most prominent critics, and I will argue that campaigns against them are a form of propaganda (or, to be precise, two closely related forms of propaganda).