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Hume argued that testimony is always reducible to more basic forms of inference; testimony is always “founded on past experience” (, p. So, on the one hand there’s Hume the reductionist who would hold that we should only trust the claims made in an encyclopedia insofar as we have further, non-testimonial evidence that the claims are likely to be true.

For example, the only way I know my date of birth is through the testimony of others–specifically my parents, the hospital, and the Social Security Administration.“It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security.What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him.” One wonders whether people like Mr Mc Henry would prefer there to be no public lavatories at all.If anything, it just goes to show that the trolls live under both sides of the bridge.For my part, whether it’s 32 volumes of , or 1,643 volumes of Wikipedia, when it comes to how I acquire knowledge, I tend not to summarily accept or reject information based solely on where it’s published.When you say you flat-out refuse to accept the truth of a claim if it hasn’t been vetted by credentialed experts, you’ll have to be skeptical about the majority of your beliefs including, for example, your own birthday.

On the other hand, if you point to the reliability of Wikipedia as evidence of its trustworthiness, you may be adopting an anti-reductionist position.

That’s a legitimate position, but the onus is on the reductionist to account for the majority of cases where we lack direct evidence.

Honestly, if you read the arguments of the more extreme pro- you’ll see that they are committed to incredulity about not just Wikipedia, but also to the majority of knowledge claims.

All we need is some sort of epistemic principle to the effect that sometimes we are justified in believing factual assertions, even in the absence of independent evidence.

For example, the non-reductionist can argue that we ought to accept testimony insofar as testimony is a reliable source of truth.

By corollary, we have the “principle of veracity”, which is a natural disposition to make claims that are factual.