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Why Do We Believe What We Are Told?

Ratio (1):69-88 (1986)

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  1. Giving the Benefit of the Doubt.Paul Faulkner - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (2):139-155.
    Faced with evidence that what a person said is false, we can nevertheless trust them and so believe what they say – choosing to give them the benefit of the doubt. This is particularly notable when the person is a friend, or someone we are close to. Towards such persons, we demonstrate a remarkable epistemic partiality. We can trust, and so believe, our friends even when the balance of the evidence suggests that what they tell us is false. And insofar (...)
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  • Testimony and the Interpersonal.Jeremy Wanderer - 2013 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 21 (1):92 - 110.
    Critical notice of Paul Faulkner, "Knowledge on Trust" (OUP 2011) and Benjamin McMyler, "Testimony, Trust, and Authority" (OUP 2011).
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  • Social Epistemic Normativity: The Program.Sanford C. Goldberg - forthcoming - Episteme:1-20.
    In this paper I argue that epistemically normative claims regarding what one is permitted or required to believe are sometimes true in virtue of what we owe one another as social creatures. I do not here pursue a reduction of these epistemically normative claims to claims asserting one or another interpersonal obligation, though I highlight some resources for those who would pursue such a reduction.
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  • Looking Beyond Reductionism and Anti-Reductionism.Felix Bräuer - 2020 - Episteme 17 (2):230-248.
    Under which conditions are we epistemically justied to believe that what other people tell us is true? Traditionally, the answer has either been reductionist or anti-reductionist: Either our justication reduces to non-testimonial reasons, or we have a presumptive, though defeasible, right to believe what we are told. However, different cases pull in different directions. Intuitively, someone asking for the time is subject to different epistemic standards than a surgeon consulting a colleague before a dangerous operation. Following this line of thought, (...)
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  • Promising as Doxastic Entrustment.Jorah Dannenberg - 2019 - Journal of Ethics 23 (4):425-447.
    I present a novel way to think about promising: Promising as Doxastic Entrustment. The main idea is that promising is inviting another to entrust her belief to you, and that taking a promiser’s word is freely choosing to accept this invitation. I explicate this through considering the special kind of reason for belief issued by a promiser: a reason whose rational status depends both on the will of the promiser to provide it, and on the will of the promisee to (...)
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  • Retraction and Testimonial Justification: A New Problem for the Assurance View.Matthew Vermaire - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-14.
    The Assurance View, as advanced by Angus Ross and Richard Moran, makes the epistemology of testimony a matter of interpersonal commitments and entitlements. More specifically, I argue, their position is best understood as claiming that for someone’s belief to be testimonially justified is for some speaker to bear illocutionary responsibility for its truth. With this understanding in hand, I present a problem for the view that has so far escaped attention, a problem deriving from the wide freedom we have to (...)
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  • Serving Two Masters: Ethics, Epistemology, and Taking People at Their Word.Jorah Dannenberg - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (1):119-136.
    Word-taking has both an epistemic and an ethical dimension. I argue that we have no good way of understanding how both ethical and epistemic considerations can be brought to bear when someone makes up her mind to take another at her word, even as we recognize that they must. This difficulty runs deep, and takes the familiar form of a sceptical problem. It originates in an otherwise powerful and compelling way of thinking about what distinguishes theoretical from practical reason. But (...)
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  • The Sense of Obligation in Children's Testimonial Learning.Pearl Han Li, Annelise Pesch & Melissa A. Koenig - 2020 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43.
    We extend Tomasello's discussion of children's developing sense of obligation to testimonial learning. First, we review a battery of behaviors in testimonial exchanges that parallel those described by Tomasello. Second, we explore the variable ways in which children hold others accountable, suggestive that children's evaluations of moral and epistemic responsibilities in joint collaborative activities are distinct.
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  • Testimonial Worth.Andrew Peet - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    This paper introduces and argues for the hypothesis that judgments of testimonial worth (that is, judgments of the quality of character an agent displays when testifying)are central to our practice of normatively appraising speech. It is argued that judgments of testimonial worth are central both to the judgement that an agent has lied, and to the acceptance of testimony. The hypothesis that, in lying, an agent necessarily displays poor testimonial worth, is shown to resolve a new puzzle about lying, and (...)
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  • The Commitments Speakers Undertake in Giving Testimony.Fred J. Kauffeld & John E. Fields - unknown
    We sketch and defend a Commitment View of testimony. Unlike alternative approaches, we focus on the ordinary act of testifying, attempting to identify the commitments essential to this speech act and to explain why those commitments are practically necessary. In view of this account, we argue that given the commitments undertaken in testifying, a speaker’s testimony can qualify as evidence.
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  • The ‘Extendedness’ of Scientific Evidence.Eric Kerr & Axel Gelfert - 2014 - Philosophical Issues 24 (1):253-281.
    In recent years, the idea has been gaining ground that our traditional conceptions of knowledge and cognition are unduly limiting, in that they privilege what goes on inside the ‘skin and skull’ of an individual reasoner. Instead, it has been argued, knowledge and cognition need to be understood as embodied, situated, and extended. Whether these various interrelations and dependencies are ‘merely’ causal, or are in a more fundamental sense constitutive of knowledge and cognition, is as much a matter of controversy (...)
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  • Testimony, Pragmatics, and Plausible Deniability.Andrew Peet - 2015 - Episteme 12 (1):29-51.
    I outline what I call the ‘deniability problem’, explain why it is problematic, and identify the range of utterances to which it applies (using religious discourse as an example). The problem is as follows: To assign content to many utterances audiences must rely on their contextual knowledge. This generates a lot of scope for error. Thus, speakers are able to make assertions and deny responsibility for the proposition asserted, claiming that the audience made a mistake. I outline the problem (a (...)
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  • Commentary On: John E. Fields' "Credibility and Commitment in the Making of Truly Astonishing First-Person Reports".Gilbert Plumer - 2011 - In Frank Zenker (ed.), Argumentation: Cognition & Community. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation [CD-ROM]. Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation. pp. 1-4.
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  • Rationality and the Reactive Attitudes.Angus Ross - 2008 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 4 (1):45-58.
    In Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment”, the idea of the reactive attitudes is used to provide a corrective for an over-intellectualised picture of moral responsibility and of the moral life generally. But Strawson also tells us that in reasoning with someone our attitude towards them must be reactive. Taking up that thought, I argue that Strawson has also provided us with a corrective for an over-intellectualised picture of rationality. Drawing on a Wittgensteinian conception of the relation between thought and its expression, (...)
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  • Some Models of Linguistic Understanding.Guy Longworth - 2009 - The Baltic International Yearbook 5 (1):7.
    I discuss the conjecture that understanding what is said in an utterance is to be modelled as knowing what is said in that utterance. My main aim is to present a number of alter- native models, as a prophylactic against premature acceptance of the conjecture as the only game in town. I also offer preliminary assessments of each of the models, including the propositional knowledge model, in part by considering their respective capacities to sub-serve the transmission of knowledge through testimony. (...)
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  • On Justifying and Being Justified.Adam Leite - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):219–253.
    We commonly speak of people as being ‘‘justified’’ or ‘‘unjustified’’ in believing as they do. These terms describe a person’s epistemic condition. To be justified in believing as one does is to have a positive epistemic status in virtue of holding one’s belief in a way which fully satisfies the relevant epistemic requirements or norms. This requires something more (or other) than simply believing a proposition whose truth is well-supported by evidence, even by evidence which one possesses oneself, since one (...)
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  • Trust, Authority and Epistemic Responsibility.Gloria Origgi - 2008 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 23 (1):35-44.
    In this paper I argue that the epistemology of trust and testimony should take into account the pragmatics of communication in order to gain insight about the responsibilities speakers and hearers share in the epistemic access they gain through communication. Communication is a rich process of information exchangein which epistemic standards are negotiated by interlocutors. I discuss examples which show the contextual adjustment of these standards as the conversation goes on. Our sensitivity to the contextual dimension of epistemic standards make (...)
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  • The Transmission View of Testimony and the Problem of Conflicting Justification.Nick Leonard - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (1):27-36.
    According to the Transmission View of Testimony : TVT: If a speaker testifies to a hearer that p, and if the hearer is justified in believing that p on the basis of that speaker's testimony, then the hearer's belief is justified by whatever justification the speaker has for believing that p. The aim of this paper is to develop and defend a novel objection to the TVT.
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  • The Epistemology of Testimonal Trust.Jesper Kallestrup - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Testimony, Recovery and Plausible Deniability: A Response to Peet.Alex Davies - 2019 - Episteme 16 (1):18-38.
    According to telling based views of testimony (TBVs), B has reason to believe that p when A tells B that p because A thereby takes public responsibility for B's subsequent belief that p. Andrew Peet presents a new argument against TBVs. He argues that insofar as A uses context-sensitive expressions to express p, A doesn't take public responsibility for B's belief that p. Since context-sensitivity is widespread, the kind of reason TBVs say we have to believe what we're told, is (...)
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  • Trust in Conversation.David Cockburn - 2014 - Nordic Wittgenstein Review 3 (1):47-68.
    We may think of the notion of “trust” primarily in epistemological terms or, alternatively, primarily in ethical terms. These different ways of thinking of trust are linked with different ways of picturing language, and my relation to the words of another. While an analogy with an individual continuing an arithmetical series has had a central place in discussions of language originating from Wittgenstein, Rush Rhees suggests that conversation provides a better model for thinking about language. Linking this with Knud Løgstrup’s (...)
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  • Reconsidering the Role of Inference to the Best Explanation in the Epistemology of Testimony.Axel Gelfert - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):386-396.
    In his work on the epistemology of testimony, Peter Lipton developed an account of testimonial inference that aimed at descriptive adequacy as well as justificatory sophistication. According to ‘testimonial inference to the best explanation’, we accept what a speaker tells us because the truth of her claim figures in the best explanation of the fact that she made it. In this paper, I argue for a modification of this picture. In particular, I argue that IBE plays a dual role in (...)
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  • Recent Work on Testimonial Knowledge.John Greco - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (1):15-28.
    Recent interest in the epistemology of testimony can be traced to C. A. J. Coady's Testimony: A Philosophical Study (1992) and then a collection of papers edited by Bimal Krishna Matilal and Arindam Chakrabarti, Knowing from Words (1994). These two volumes framed several issues in the epistemology of testimony and largely set the agenda for work in that area over the next two decades. -/- One major issue in this literature is whether testimonial knowledge can be "reduced" to some other (...)
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  • Why Take Our Word for It?Ishani Maitra & Daniel Nolan - manuscript
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  • Faith in Others.Guy Longworth - 2012 - Abstracta 6 (S6):6-32.
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  • Should Have Known.Sanford Goldberg - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):2863-2894.
    In this paper I will be arguing that there are cases in which a subject, S, should have known that p, even though, given her state of evidence at the time, she was in no position to know it. My argument for this result will involve making two claims. The uncontroversial claim is this: S should have known that p when another person has, or would have, legitimate expectations regarding S’s epistemic condition, the satisfaction of these expectations would require that (...)
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  • Anti‐Reductionism and Expected Trust.Sanford C. Goldberg - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (4):952-970.
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  • Trust, Belief, and the Second-Personal.Thomas W. Simpson - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):447-459.
    Cognitivism about trust says that it requires belief that the trusted is trustworthy; non-cognitivism denies this. At stake is how to make sense of the strong but competing intuitions that trust is an attitude that is evaluable both morally and rationally. In proposing that one's respect for another's agency may ground one's trusting beliefs, second-personal accounts provide a way to endorse both intuitions. They focus attention on the way that, in normal situations, it is the person whom I trust. My (...)
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  • Epistemic Buck-Passing and the Interpersonal View of Testimony.Judith Baker & Philip Clark - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (2):178-199.
    Two ideas shape the epistemology of testimony. One is that testimony provides a unique kind of knowledge. The other is that testimonial knowledge is a social achievement. In traditional terms, those who affirm these ideas are anti-reductionists, and those who deny them are reductionists. There is increasing interest, however, in the possibility of affirming these ideas without embracing anti-reductionism. Thus, Sanford Goldberg uses the idea of epistemic buck-passing to argue that even reductionists can accept the uniqueness of testimonial knowledge, and (...)
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  • Against Credibility.Joseph Shieber - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (1):1 - 18.
    How does the monitoring of a testifier's credibility by recipients of testimony bear upon the epistemic licence accruing to a recipient's belief in the testifier's communications? According to an intuitive and philosophically influential conception, licensed acceptance of testimony requires that recipients of testimony monitor testifiers with respect to their credibility. I argue that this conception, however, proves to be untenable when confronted with the wealth of empirical evidence bearing on the ways in which testifiers and their interlocutors actually interact.
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  • Knowing at Second Hand.Benjamin McMyler - 2007 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (5):511 – 540.
    Participants on both sides of the contemporary debate between reductionism and anti-reductionism about testimony commonly describe testimonial knowledge as knowledge acquired at second hand. I argue that fully appreciating the distinctive sense in which testimonial knowledge is secondhand supports anti-reductionism over reductionism but also that it supports a particular kind of anti-reductionism very different from that typically offered in the literature. Testimonial knowledge is secondhand in the demanding sense of being justified by the authority of a speaker where this requires (...)
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  • Between Autonomy and Authority: Kant on the Epistemic Status of Testimony.Joseph Shieber - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (2):327-348.
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  • Learning From Words.Jennifer Lackey - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (1):77–101.
    There is a widely accepted family of views in the epistemology of testimony centering around the claim that belief is the central item involved in a testimonial exchange. For instance, in describing the process of learning via testimony, Elizabeth Fricker provides the following: “one language-user has a belief, which gives rise to an utterance by him; as a result of observing this utterance another user of the same language, his audience, comes to share that belief.” In a similar spirit, Alvin (...)
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  • Testimony and Assertion.David Owens - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (1):105-129.
    Two models of assertion are described and their epistemological implications considered. The assurance model draws a parallel between the ethical norms surrounding promising and the epistemic norms which facilitate the transmission of testimonial knowledge. This model is rejected in favour of the view that assertion transmits knowledge by expressing belief. I go on to compare the epistemology of testimony with the epistemology of memory.
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  • Why We Don’T Deserve Credit for Everything We Know.Jennifer Lackey - 2007 - Synthese 158 (3):345-361.
    A view of knowledge—what I call the "Deserving Credit View of Knowledge" —found in much of the recent epistemological literature, particularly among so-called virtue epistemologists, centres around the thesis that knowledge is something for which a subject deserves credit. Indeed, this is said to be the central difference between those true beliefs that qualify as knowledge and those that are true merely by luck—the former, unlike the latter, are achievements of the subject and are thereby creditable to her. Moreover, it (...)
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  • Testimony and the Infant/Child Objection.Jennifer Lackey - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 126 (2):163-190.
    One of the central problems afflicting reductionism in the epistemology of testimony is the apparent fact that infants and small children are not cognitively capable of having the inductively based positive reasons required by this view. Since non-reductionism does not impose a requirement of this sort, it is thought to avoid this problem and is therefore taken to have a significant advantage over reductionism. In this paper, however, I argue that if this objection undermines reductionism, then a variant of it (...)
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  • Why Believe What People Say?Leslie Stevenson - 1993 - Synthese 94 (3):429 - 451.
    The basic alternatives seem to be either a Humean reductionist view that any particular assertion needs backing with inductive evidence for its reliability before it can retionally be believed, or a Reidian criterial view that testimony is intrinscially, though defeasibly, credible, in the absence of evidence against its reliability.Some recent arguments from the constraints on interpreting any linguistic performances as assertions with propositional content have some force against the reductionist view. We thus have reason to accept the criterial view, at (...)
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  • Anonymous Assertions.Sanford C. Goldberg - 2013 - Episteme 10 (2):135-151.
    This paper addresses how the anonymity of an assertion affects the epistemological dimension of its production by speakers, and its reception by hearers. After arguing that anonymity does have implications in both respects, I go on to argue that at least some of these implications derive from a warranted diminishment in speakers' and hearers' expectations of one another when there are few mechanisms for enforcing the responsibilities attendant to speech. As a result, I argue, anonymous assertions do not carry the (...)
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  • Epistemic Authority, Testimony and the Transmission of Knowledge†.Arnon Keren - 2007 - Episteme 4 (3):368-381.
    I present an account of what it is to trust a speaker, and argue that the account can explain the common intuitions which structure the debate about the transmission view of testimony. According to the suggested account, to trust a speaker is to grant her epistemic authority on the asserted proposition, and hence to see her opinion as issuing a second order, preemptive reason for believing the proposition. The account explains the intuitive appeal of the basic principle associated with the (...)
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  • Analyzing the Wrongfulness of Lying: A Defence of Pluralism.Arianna Falbo - 2017 - Dialogue 56 (3):431-454.
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  • Acting on Knowledge.Jennifer Lackey - 2010 - Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):361-382.
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  • Knowledge Laundering: Testimony and Sensitive Invariantism.John MacFarlane - 2005 - Analysis 65 (2):132–138.
    According to “sensitive invariantism,” the word “know” expresses the same relation in every context of use, but what it takes to stand in this relation to a proposition can vary with the subject’s circumstances. Sensitive invariantism looks like an attractive reconciliation of invariantism and contextualism. However, it is incompatible with a widely-held view about the way knowledge is transmitted through testimony. If both views were true, someone whose evidence for p fell short of what was required for knowledge in her (...)
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  • Knowing From Testimony.Jennifer Lackey - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (5):432–448.
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  • Testimony, Evidence and Interpersonal Reasons.Nick Leonard - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2333-2352.
    According to the Interpersonal View of Testimony, testimonial justification is non-evidential in nature. I begin by arguing that the IVT has the following problem: If the IVT is true, then young children and people with autism cannot participate in testimonial exchanges; but young children and people with autism can participate in testimonial exchanges; thus, the IVT should be rejected on the grounds that it has over-cognized what it takes to give and receive testimony. Afterwards, I consider what I take to (...)
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  • Testimonial Knowledge: A Unified Account.Peter J. Graham - 2016 - Philosophical Issues 26 (1):172-186.
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  • Trust and Testimony.Philip J. Nickel - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (3):301-316.
    Some recent accounts of testimonial warrant base it on trust, and claim that doing so helps explain asymmetries between the intended recipient of testimony and other non-intended hearers, e.g. differences in their entitlement to challenge the speaker or to rebuke the speaker for lying. In this explanation ‘dependence-responsiveness’ is invoked as an essential feature of trust: the trustor believes the trustee to be motivationally responsive to the fact that the trustor is relying on the trustee. I argue that dependence-responsiveness is (...)
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  • A Minimal Expression of Non–Reductionism in the Epistemology of Testimony.Jennifer Lackey - 2003 - Noûs 37 (4):706–723.
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  • Testimony: A Primer.Martin Kusch & Peter Lipton - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 33 (2):209-217.
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