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Social Epistemology$
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Adrian Haddock, Alan Millar, and Duncan Pritchard

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199577477

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577477.001.0001

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Epistemic Circularity and Epistemic Incommensurability

Epistemic Circularity and Epistemic Incommensurability

(p.262) 13 Epistemic Circularity and Epistemic Incommensurability
Social Epistemology

Michael P. Lynch (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores an analogy between our reliance on memory and our reliance on news coverage. The analogy derives from a certain sort of counterfactual reasoning that might be employed to support beliefs in either domain, in cases involving the silence of a relied-upon source. Thus one might form the belief that p on the grounds that if p were false one would have heard about it by now (or would have remembered it). Elsewhere an account of the conditions under which counterfactual reasoning of this sort is epistemically fruitful has been developed. This chapter addressess a related matter: whether resources within the epistemology of memory might be helpful in thinking about the epistemic significance of silence from any relied-upon source—whether that source is one's own memory, or the news groups on which one relies for coverage.

Keywords:   counterfactual reasoning, epistemology of silence, memory, news coverage, silence, sources of information

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