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Title: Coverage-Reliability, Epistemic Dependence, and the Problem of Rumor-Based Belief
Authors: Gelfert, A. 
Keywords: Coverage
Epistemic dependence
Social epistemology
Issue Date: Sep-2013
Citation: Gelfert, A. (2013-09). Coverage-Reliability, Epistemic Dependence, and the Problem of Rumor-Based Belief. Philosophia (United States) 41 (3) : 763-786. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
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. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Source Title: Philosophia (United States)
ISSN: 00483893
DOI: 10.1007/s11406-012-9408-z
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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