Everyday belief-acquisition

People need a vast amount of information in order to live in an advanced technological society. Most of this has to be obtained from others by believing what they say and write. Androids and sophisticated AI systems would also have to be able to learn in this way. Before we can program this ability into them, however, we need to understand human belief-acquisition. In my paper "The Belief-filter Component" (1999) I proposed a two-stage model of belief-acquisition. The first stage consists in the employment of a defeasible rule to believe others. The second stage consists in the use of a sophisticated critical methodology. In my paper "Everyday Belief-acquisition" I develop one part of this model in more detail. I look at the factors that cause us to override the defeasible rule to believe others in the situation when we are listening to someone speak.

I have continued to develop my two-stage model since first proposing it; more recent information about my current views on testimony is available on this website.


  • Antoni Diller, "The Belief-filter Component", Cognitive Science Research Papers, School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, CSRP-99-9 (April 1999); a PDF version of this paper is available on this website.
  • Antoni Diller, "Everyday Belief-acquisition", in Gabriela P. Henning (editor), Argentine Symposium on Artificial Intelligence (ASAI2000) Proceedings: Tandil, September 5-7, 2000, [Buenos Aires, Sociedad Argentina de Informática e Investigación Operativa (SADIO), 2000], pp. 221–232; a PDF version of this paper is available on this website.

© Antoni Diller (26 March 2014)