, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 295–316

Testimony, Credibility, and Explanatory Coherence


DOI: 10.1007/s10670-005-4004-2

Cite this article as:
Thagard, P. Erkenntnis (2005) 63: 295. doi:10.1007/s10670-005-4004-2


This paper develops a descriptive and normative account of how people respond to testimony. It postulates a default pathway in which people more or less automatically respond to a claim by accepting it, as long as the claim made is consistent with their beliefs and the source is credible. Otherwise, people enter a reflective pathway in which they evaluate the claim based on its explanatory coherence with everything else they believe. Computer simulations show how explanatory coherence can be maximized in real-life cases, taking into account all the relevant evidence including the credibility of whoever is making a claim. The explanatory-coherence account is more plausible both descriptively and normatively than a Bayesian account.

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

Personalised recommendations