Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Dustin Locke

OCLC Record Number



Widespread social media use has major epistemic implications. To understand those implications fully, one must be aware of the important distinctions between true belief and knowledge. It is often hard for epistemologists to clarify what distinguishes true belief from knowledge. It seems that both true belief and knowledge offer the individual the right “picture” of the world around them and a sound basis for action. It is not clear what value, if any, knowledge has to offer to either an individual or society, that goes beyond the value offered by true beliefs. In this section of the paper, I will attempt to clarify what distinguishes knowledge from true belief. The only difference between the two, it seems, is that knowledge leaves no room for doubt. Knowledge can be seen, then, as a secured true belief- a true belief that cannot be overridden by instances of contrary evidence. Engaging in the epistemic processes that solidify a certain belief with respect to the available evidence is an attempt at the justification required for knowledge. A true belief that is justified is a good start for defining knowledge. The idea of justification, thus, requires a basic understanding of the relationship between true belief and knowledge. The working theory of justification we will use is reliabilism. From the basis of an understanding of reliabilism, I will look at a prominent epistemic mechanism known as testimony. I will wrap up this section with an introduction to testimony, whose epistemic merits will be further explored in the next chapter.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.