pp 1–12 | Cite as

The transmission of knowledge and garbage

  • John GrecoEmail author
S.I.: Epistemic Dependence


Almost everyone will grant that knowledge is often transmitted through testimony. Indeed, to deny this would be to accept a broad-ranging skepticism. Here is a problem: Knowledge seems to be transmitted right along side lots of garbage. That is, besides transmitting genuine knowledge, we manage to transmit lots of beliefs that are irrational, superstitious, self-deceiving, and flat out false. So how is that possible? How is it that the very same channels manage to transmit both knowledge and garbage together? Call this “the garbage problem”. Part One of the paper explicates the problem in more detail and argues that the problem seems unsolvable by some familiar approaches to testimonial knowledge. Part Two presents and begins to defend a solution. The general idea is to treat the garbage problem as a generality problem.


Testimony Transmission Social epistemology 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leonard and Elizabeth Eslick Chair in Philosophy, Department of PhilosophySaint Louis UniversitySaint LouisUSA

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