‏When a claim is made, especially publicly, it ‏is natural to think we are being told the truth. ‏Most of the time we accept claims, especially ‏claims to fact, at face value. For instance, if ‏we read in the newspaper that there has been ‏a plane crash, we are entitled to assume that ‏such an event really has taken place. We ‏don't jump to the conclusion that the ‏statement is false just because we have not ‏witnessed it ourselves. We hear the football ‏results, or baseball scores, and assume they ‏are correct, and not made up to please the ‏fans of some clubs. We get a weather forecast ‏telling us to expect heavy snow, and we plan ‏accordingly: we don't ignore it just because it ‏is a prediction, and predictions aren't facts. ‏Assuming that most of what we are told is ‏true is entirely reasonable. Indeed, it is ‏necessary for a normal life, and the ‏functioning of a modern democratic society ‏If we questioned, or refused to believe, ‏everything we read or heard, life as we know ‏it would come to a standstill. That is why we ‏all have a responsibility to tell the truth; and ‏why people are understandably annoyed if ‏they are told something that is not true. ‏Everyone knows the story of The Boy Who ‏Cried 'Wolf!' or a story like it. The boy has a ‏bad habit of raising false alarms, in particular ‏frightening his community by shouting out ‏that a pack of wolves is approaching the ‏village. At first the villagers run to safety ‏whenever he does this. But after a while they ‏stop believing him, until the day comes when ‏a real wolf appears. By then, of course, the ‏boy has lost all credibility and his for-once ‏genuine warning is ignored. (You can work ‏out the ending yourself.) ‏The moral of the story is that truth and ‏trust are both important. People need to be ‏able to rely on what they are told most of the ‏time; and people who speak the truth need ‏others to believe them most of the time. But ‏that does not mean we should respond with ‏blind acceptance to everything that we read ‏and hear. Obviously we cannot assume that ‏just because something has been asserted - in ‏spoken, printed or any other form - it is true, ‏or we have to agree with it. People do make ‏false assertions not only with intent to ‏deceive, but also out of carelessness or ‏ignorance. Even when there is a core of truth ‏in what someone says, it may be exaggerated ‏or over-simplified, or a mere approximation ‏or a rough guess. There are many ways, ‏besides being plainly false, in which a claim ‏may be less than the whole truth ‏None of this means that we should start ‏routinely doubting everything. But it does ‏mean we should keep an open and inquisitive ‏mind ‏Justification ‏As you saw in the previous chapter, it is not ‏always possible to know whether a claim is ‏straightforwardly true or false. Knowledge ‏requires certainty and certainties are rare. In ‏the absence of certainty, the best evaluation ‏we can give of a claim or belief is to say ‏whether it is justified, or warranted. These two ‏words mean much the same as each other. A ‏warrant is a right or entitlement. We are ‏entitled to hold a belief, or to make a claim, if ‏there are strong grounds - for example ‏evidence to support it. Without such ‏grounds a claim is unwarranted (unjustified)