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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Knowledge, it is commonly assumed, can be and often is transmitted via testimony. How exactly this takes place, however, is a matter of controversy. One common thought is that, in order to obtain knowledge via testimony, listeners need to live up to some minimum standard of epistemic conduct. This raises the question of just what this minimum standard might be. Some philosophers have recently attempted to make progress on this question by turning to the psychological literature on mechanisms of ‘epistemic vigilance’, or the methods that people routinely use to track the quality of the testimony they are hearing, to filter out liars and the uninformed. The present chapter briefly canvasses the state of this inquiry and lays out several challenges for it. It concludes with a broader challenge to the thought that there really is some minimal standard that listeners must live up to in order to acquire knowledge via testimony.

Keywords: lying, testimony, knowledge, epistemic vigilance, sincerity

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