Tuesday, April 7, 2015

[PHI 3630] Rumor has it

In What To Believe Now, Coady argues that the survival of a rumor (i.e., a communication that has spread through a large number of informants) is evidence for its veracity. As Coady puts it:
the "distance" of rumors from an original eyewitness account does not constitute a general reason for skepticism about their veracity. On the contrary, such distance may make belief in rumors more warranted (p. 96).
Now, imagine that you are a young Egyptian in January 2011. You hear rumors about a massive demonstration that is about to take place.

How Facebook Changed the World – the story of the Arab Spring. episode 1 from Sam Farmar on Vimeo.

On the other hand, you also receive the following text message:
Youth of Egypt, beware rumors and listen to the sound of reason - Egypt is above all so preserve it.

From an epistemic point of view, what should you believe?

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