Normally it’s OK to believe something really happened when an otherwise reliable friend tells you it happened, even if she is just telling you something that happened to someone else. Following such a policy, you will sometimes go wrong, but most of the beliefs you acquire that way will be true. But there is a class of stories (urban legends) that reliable people tell, sincerely believing them to be true, which aren’t. The problem they pose is twofold. First, can we state an epistemic principle that will correctly describe when you should believe them and when you shouldn’t? Second, does it make sense to say we learn to distinguish truth from falsehood by learning such principles?
|State||Published - Apr 2004|