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Knowledge in a Social World$
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Alvin I. Goldman

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198238201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198238207.001.0001

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(p.103) Four Testimony
Knowledge in a Social World

Alvin I. Goldman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Whether a simple reporting practice produces positive changes in knowledge, or V‐value, depends on what reports a message sender sends, who actually receives them, what the receivers’ antecedent degrees of belief are, and how they revise their degrees of belief as a function of the reports. Does any belief‐revision practice have a general propensity to improve a hearer's degrees of knowledge? Assuming objective conditional probabilities, revising degrees of belief by Bayesian conditionalization yields (objectively) expected increases in degrees of knowledge (V‐value), as long as subjective likelihoods match objective likelihoods. This general theorem applies to the special case of reasoning from social communications. As a separate subtopic, theories of justification for testimonial belief are briefly reviewed.

Keywords:   Bayes, belief‐revision, conditionalization, justification, receiver, testimony

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