Epistemic Free Riders and Reasons to Trust Testimony

Social Epistemology 29 (3):270-279 (2015)
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Sinan Dogramaci has recently developed a view according to which the function of epistemic evaluations—like calling someone’s behavior “rational” or “irrational”—is to encourage or discourage the behavior evaluated. This view promises to explain the rational authority of testimony, by describing a social practice that promotes the coordination of epistemic procedures across a community. We argue that Dogramaci’s view is unsatisfactory, for two reasons. First, the social practice at its heart is vulnerable to free riders. Second, even if the problem of free riders can be solved, it “alienates” epistemic agents from the testimony that they receive, in that, though they will accept testimony from their fellows, they will have no reason to do so. We argue that a more satisfactory view can be had if we couple the genuine insights that are to be found in Dogramaci’s proposal with the recognition that testimony is an excludible good that is often distributed according to market forces. It is this fact about test..



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Author Profiles

Nicholas Tebben
Towson University
John Philip Waterman
University of New England (United States)

References found in this work

Reflection and disagreement.Adam Elga - 2007 - Noûs 41 (3):478–502.
Contextualism and Subject‐Sensitivity.Jeremy Fantl & Matthew McGrath - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (3):693-702.

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