Have you heard? The rumour as reliable

In Greg Dalziel (ed.), Rumour and Communication in Asia in the Internet Age. Routledge. pp. 46-61 (2013)
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Drawing on work by philosophers CAJ Coady and David Coady on the epistemology of rumours, I develop a theory which exploits the distinction between rumouring and rumour-mongering for the purpose of explaining why we should treat rumours as a species of justified belief. Whilst it is true that rumour-mongering, the act of passing on a rumour maliciously, presents a pathology of the normally reliable transmission of rumours, I will argue that rumours themselves have a generally reliable transmission process, that of rumouring, and should be considered to be examples of warranted beliefs. My argument will also touch on the association of rumours with another class of beliefs that are usually considered to be suspect, conspiracy theories. I will argue that whilst rumours are reliable (as a mechanism for the transmission of justified beliefs) the analysis of the transmission of conspiracy theories requires us to realise they are different to rumours in some important respects.

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M R. X. Dentith
Beijing Normal University


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