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Episode 98: Jennifer Lackey discusses credibility

This month, we talk to Jennifer Lackey (Northwestern University) about what it means to be too trustful of another person. Click here to listen to our conversation.

Jennifer Lackey For some time, feminist authors have been concerned about the fact that women tend to be believed less than men, simply because they’re women. The mere fact that someone is a woman should have of course have no bearing on whether you believe them–you should believe them if what they’re saying is plausible and well supported by evidence, and you should disbelieve them if what they’re saying is implausible and unsupported by evidence. This intuition has led a lot of people to conclude that the only basis for determining whether you should believe another person is whether what they’re saying is plausible and well supported. It’s a good intuition, but Jennifer Lackey argues that that can’t be the whole picture. For instance, what if I’m in a classroom, and I am given a level of credibility that exactly corresponds to my actual reliability, but everyone else in the classroom is treated as a super-reliable mega-genius? It seems like that’s still going to be bad in all sorts of ways, and in particular it’s still going to be bad for me, even though I’m getting the level of credibility that I deserve as an individual.

Join us this month, as our guest walks us through how it’s not all about holding back from giving people too little credibility–sometimes, it’s about holding back from giving people too much credibility.

Matt Teichman

Posted in Podcast.


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