, Volume 176, Issue 3, pp 399–427 | Cite as

In defence of gullibility: the epistemology of testimony and the psychology of deception detection

  • Kourken Michaelian


Research in the psychology of deception detection implies that Fricker, in making her case for reductionism in the epistemology of testimony, overestimates both the epistemic demerits of the antireductionist policy of trusting speakers blindly and the epistemic merits of the reductionist policy of monitoring speakers for trustworthiness: folk psychological prejudices to the contrary notwithstanding, it turns out that monitoring is on a par (in terms both of the reliability of the process and of the sensitivity of the beliefs that it produces) with blind trust. The consequence is that while (a version of) Fricker’s argument for the necessity of a reduction succeeds, her argument for the availability of reductions fails. This does not, however, condemn us to endorse standard pessimistic reductionism, according to which there is no testimonial knowledge, for recent research concerning the methods used by subjects to discover deception in non-laboratory settings suggests that only a more moderate form of pessimism is in order.


Epistemology Testimony Monitoring Deception 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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