Philosophia 41 (3):763-786 (2013)

Authors
Axel Gelfert
Technische Universität Berlin
Abstract
Rumors, for better or worse, are an important element of public discourse. The present paper focuses on rumors as an epistemic phenomenon rather than as a social or political problem. In particular, it investigates the relation between the mode of transmission and the reliability, if any, of rumors as a source of knowledge. It does so by comparing rumor with two forms of epistemic dependence that have recently received attention in the philosophical literature: our dependence on the testimony of others, and our dependence on what has been called the ‘coverage-reliability’ of our social environment (Goldberg 2010). According to the latter, an environment is ‘coverage-reliable’ if, across a wide range of beliefs and given certain conditions, it supports the following conditional: If ~p were true I would have heard about it by now. However, in information-deprived social environments with little coverage-reliability, rumors may transmit information that could not otherwise be had. This suggests that a trade-off exists between levels of trust in the coverage-reliability of official sources and (warranted) trust in rumor as a source of information.
Keywords social epistemology  epistemic dependence  rumor  rumour  coverage reliability  epistemic coverage  testimony  applied epistemology
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Reprint years 2013, 2016
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-012-9408-z
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References found in this work BETA

The Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - Cambridge University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA

Definindo Boato.Felipe de Matos Müller - 2016 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 61 (2):425-436.

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