I was walking down my school hall today and was thinking about just some random things, such as how this hallway smells, who that person looks like, etc. Then, about 2 minutes later I began to think the same basic thoughts, just in a seperate location and at a later time. Since nobody else heard these thoughts the first time, maybe my mind did not really think of them 2 minutes ago but was just telling myself that 2 minutes ago I thought those things. What I mean to say is, how can I be sure that I thought of something earlier if my mind may have just fabricated its own memories?

In my salad days, I would have replied: keep an accurate, comprehensive diary; take a lot of photographs; and hang on to all your receipts. Now I know better. None of this solves the logical problem. For example, when you are writing down your thoughts or acts in your diary, are you remembering correctly and hence describing correctly what you thought or what happened? When you later look at the photographs you took during your trip to Mali, how can you be sure [memory?] that these were the images you took there? There is nothing in the image itself that reliably testifies to its own veracity. [No memory-image verifies itself.] The label on your jeans says "Levi" [i.e., not a fake made in Bogalusa], but is there a label attached to the label that says "That other label is genuine, and tells the truth"? Even if there were such a label.... [No label verifies itself.] When God says to you, "I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD," go ahead, be brave, and reply, "Oh yeah? Sez who?" "ASK MY WIFE, YOU DIMWIT." (Jean-Paul...

Why should I believe you?

Professor Gentzler's "You should not believe me unless I offer you, or you have independent access to, compelling reasons to do so" seems cynical. Why not, instead, the more sociable and cheerful, "You should believe me unless I offer you, or you have independent access to, compelling reasons not to do so"? Should we assume others are fundamentally liars (even about whether they are liars) or fundamentally truth-tellers. I suppose it depends on the context. Some of us are experts at knowing when to believe others, unless there is good reason not to, and when not to believe others, unless there is good reason to. But some of us lack this skill. Then we are either gullible, being too sociable, cheerful, foolish; or we are paranoid, not trusting anyone, not even our own mothers.