FREQUENTLY, testimony gives us enough evidence that, given the stakes, it is rational to act on the information. I mean, I get off the bus in Manhattan, ask the first person I see where 30 Rock is, they give me some directions. I might as well start walking that way, and if things don’t go well, then I can stop and ask someone else. People are not, by nature, scientists. To ask three people off the bat and compare their answers, generalizing over them perhaps, would be weird. Not only that, but instinctively, it could be quite confusing, because we’re well aware that there are many roads to the same destination. So it wouldn’t be to unexpected if three people gave non-identical directions, and that is likely enough to be confusing to make it more utile to just go with the flow of the first person until need arises to do otherwise.
FURTHERMORE, it would be *rude* to ask someone and then just ask the very next person. In normal contexts, that would convey to the first person that you didn’t trust them. And as social animals we instinctively avoid this kind of totally un-necessary effrontery. And to avoid this, we’d have to embark on some plan where we stand around waiting for the first person to get out of sight (and standing there might also convey lack of trust) before we accost someone else. Messy.
SO, for multiple reasons, it seems overall best to just act on the information we are given–when there’s no obvious funny-business (and it’s evidentially relevant that we do in fact scan for this even if we’re not thinking much about it).
There’s more continuity here with cases of knowledge-conveying testimony than at first might appear. For, typically, we are most consciously attentive to the testimony, not the background narrative in which it occurs (just as we focus on the match, not the oxygen or the powder). But we are tacitly aware of that narrative and the testimony is “enriched” with it cognitively to yield varying degrees of positive epistemic status. In the case of, say, grade school, we have, I think, knowledge. That’s a rich narrative context. But when some Manhattanite hipster gives me directions, I don’t have knowledge, I just have actionable information.
So there’s really no Problem of Easy Knowledge from testimony in Lackey’s case, for there’s no knowledge there at all.