Testimony

Edited by Peter Graham (University of California, Riverside)
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  1. Understanding, Grasping, and Luck.Kareem Khalifa - 2013 - Episteme 10 (1):1-17.
    Recently, it has been debated as to whether understanding is a species of explanatory knowledge. Those who deny this claim frequently argue that understanding, unlike knowledge, can be lucky. In this paper I argue that current arguments do not support this alleged compatibility between understanding and epistemic luck. First, I argue that understanding requires reliable explanatory evaluation, yet the putative examples of lucky understanding underspecify the extent to which subjects possess this ability. In the course of defending this claim, I (...)
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  2. Fake Barns and False Dilemmas.Clayton Littlejohn - 2014 - Episteme 11 (4):369-389.
    The central thesis of robust virtue epistemology (RVE) is that the difference between knowledge and mere true belief is that knowledge involves success that is attributable to a subject's abilities. An influential objection to this approach is that RVE delivers the wrong verdicts in cases of environmental luck. Critics of RVE argue that the view needs to be supplemented with modal anti-luck condition. This particular criticism rests on a number of mistakes about the nature of ability that I shall try (...)
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  3. A Note Concerning Justification and Access.Clayton Littlejohn - 2013 - Episteme 10 (4):369-386.
    Certain combinations of attitudes are manifestly unreasonable. It is unreasonable to believe that dogs bark, for example, if one concedes that one has no justification to believe this. Why are the irrational combinations irrational? One suggestion is that these are attitudes that a subject cannot have justification to have. If this is right, we can test claims about the structure of propositional justification by relying on our observations about which combinations of attitudes constitute Moorean absurd pairs. In a recent defense (...)
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  4. Testimonial Insult: A Moral Reason for Belief?Finlay Malcolm - 2018 - Logos and Episteme (1):27-48.
    When you don’t believe a speaker’s testimony for reasons that call into question the speaker’s credibility, it seems that this is an insult against the speaker. There also appears to be moral reasons that count in favour of refraining from insulting someone. When taken together, these two plausible claims entail that we have a moral reason to refrain from insulting speakers with our lack of belief, and hence, sometimes, a moral reason to believe the testimony of speakers. Reasons for belief (...)
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  5. Arguments From Expert Opinion and Persistent Bias.Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Argumentation 32 (2):175-195.
    Accounts of arguments from expert opinion take it for granted that expert judgments count as (defeasible) evidence for propositions, and so an argument that proceeds from premises about what an expert judges to a conclusion that the expert is probably right is a strong argument. In Mizrahi (2013), I consider a potential justification for this assumption, namely, that expert judgments are significantly more likely to be true than novice judgments, and find it wanting because of empirical evidence suggesting that expert (...)
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  6. Auf der Suche nach den Fundamenten des Theismus [In Search of the Foundations of Theism].Philip L. Quinn & Vincent C. Müller - 1998 - In Christoph Jäger (ed.), Analytische Religionsphilosophie. Ferdinand Schöningh. pp. 331-353.
    Dieser Aufsatz ist eine kritische und erkundende Diskussion von Plantingas Behauptung, daß bestimmte Aussagen, aus denen evidentermaßen folgt, daß Gott existiert, berechtigterweise basal sein könnten. Im kritischen Abschnitt argumentiere ich dafür, daß es Plantinga nicht gelingt zu zeigen, daß das Kriterium des modernen Fundamentalisten für berechtigte Basalität, dem zufolge solche Aussagen nicht berechtigterweise basal sein können, selbstreferentiell inkohärent oder anderweitig mangelhaft ist. Im erkundenden Abschnitt versuche ich, ein Argument für die Auffassung zu entwickeln, daß solche Aussagen, selbst wenn sie berechtigterweise (...)
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  7. Belief is Prior to Knowledge.David Rose - 2015 - Episteme 12 (3):385-399.
    Orthodoxy has it that knowledge is a composite of belief and non-mental factors. However, Timothy Williamson suggests that orthodoxy implies that the concept of belief is acquired before the concept of knowledge, whereas developmental data suggest the reverse. More recently, Jennifer Nagel reviews the psychological evidence, building a psychological case that the concept of knowledge emerges prior to belief. I assess the psychological state of the art and find support for the opposite conclusion. Overall the empirical evidence supports the orthodox (...)
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  8. Knowing How to Put Knowledge First in the Theory of Justification.Paul Silva - 2017 - Episteme 14 (4):393-412.
    I provide a novel knowledge-first account of justification that avoids the pitfalls of existing accounts while preserving the underlying insight of knowledge-first epistemologies: that knowledge comes first. The view I propose is, roughly, this: justification is grounded in our practical knowledge (know-how) concerning the acquisition of propositional knowledge (knowledge-that). I first refine my thesis in response to immediate objections. In subsequent sections I explain the various ways in which this thesis is theoretically superior to existing knowledge-first accounts of justification. The (...)
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Epistemology of Testimony
  1. The Seduction of Winston Smith.Mark Alfano - forthcoming - In Ezio Di Nucci & Stefan Storrie (eds.), 1984 and Philosophy. Open Court.
    On the first page of 1984, Winston Smith is confronted with several posters featuring the face of Big Brother and the famous sentence, “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.” This may not seem like a promising way to seduce someone, but the seduction of Winston Smith by Big Brother in 1984 is a most unusual love story. I call it a seduction because Winston’s mind and heart are slowly won over in the aptly-named Ministry of Love. Moreover, in the final scene (...)
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  2. A Semantic Solution to the Problem with Aesthetic Testimony.James Andow - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (2):211-218.
    There is something peculiar about aesthetic testimony. It seems more difficult to gain knowledge of aesthetic properties based solely upon testimony than it is in the case of other types of property. In this paper, I argue that we can provide an adequate explanation at the level of the semantics of aesthetic language, without defending any substantive thesis in epistemology or about aesthetic value/judgement. If aesthetic predicates are given a non-invariantist semantics, we can explain the supposed peculiar difficulty with aesthetic (...)
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  3. Is Memory Merely Testimony From One's Former Self?David James Barnett - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (3):353-392.
    A natural view of testimony holds that a source's statements provide one with evidence about what the source believes, which in turn provides one with evidence about what is true. But some theorists have gone further and developed a broadly analogous view of memory. According to this view, which this essay calls the “diary model,” one's memory ordinarily serves as a means for one's present self to gain evidence about one's past judgments, and in turn about the truth. This essay (...)
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  4. What's the Matter with Epistemic Circularity?David James Barnett - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (2):177-205.
    If the reliability of a source of testimony is open to question, it seems epistemically illegitimate to verify the source’s reliability by appealing to that source’s own testimony. Is this because it is illegitimate to trust a questionable source’s testimony on any matter whatsoever? Or is there a distinctive problem with appealing to the source’s testimony on the matter of that source’s own reliability? After distinguishing between two kinds of epistemically illegitimate circularity—bootstrapping and self-verification—I argue for a qualified version of (...)
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  5. Lexical Norms, Language Comprehension, and the Epistemology of Testimony.Endre Begby - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (3-4):324-342.
    It has recently been argued that public linguistic norms are implicated in the epistemology of testimony by way of underwriting the reliability of language comprehension. This paper argues that linguistic normativity, as such, makes no explanatory contribution to the epistemology of testimony, but instead emerges naturally out of a collective effort to maintain language as a reliable medium for the dissemination of knowledge. Consequently, the epistemologies of testimony and language comprehension are deeply intertwined from the start, and there is no (...)
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  6. Expert Opinion and Second‐Hand Knowledge.Matthew A. Benton - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):492-508.
    Expert testimony figures in recent debates over how best to understand the norm of assertion and the domain-specific epistemic expectations placed on testifiers. Cases of experts asserting with only isolated second-hand knowledge (Lackey 2011, 2013) have been used to shed light on whether knowledge is sufficient for epistemically permissible assertion. I argue that relying on such cases of expert testimony introduces several problems concerning how we understand expert knowledge, and the sharing of such knowledge through testimony. Refinements are needed to (...)
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  7. Believing on Authority.Matthew A. Benton - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 6 (4):133-144.
    Linda Zagzebski's "Epistemic Authority" (Oxford University Press, 2012) brings together issues in social epistemology with topics in moral and political philosophy as well as philosophy of religion. In this paper I criticize her discussion of self-trust and rationality, which sets up the main argument of the book; I consider how her view of authority relates to some issues of epistemic authority in testimony; and I raise some concerns about her treatment of religious epistemology and religious authority in particular.
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  8. Testifying Understanding.Kenneth Boyd - 2017 - Episteme 14 (1):103-127.
    While it is widely acknowledged that knowledge can be acquired via testimony, it has been argued that understanding cannot. While there is no consensus about what the epistemic relationship of understanding consists in, I argue here that regardless of how understanding is conceived there are kinds of understanding that can be acquired through testimony: easy understanding and easy-s understanding. I address a number of aspects of understanding that might stand in the way of being able to acquire understanding through testimony, (...)
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  9. On Testimony and Transmission.J. Adam Carter & Philip J. Nickel - 2014 - Episteme 11 (2):145-155.
    Jennifer Lackey’s case “Creationist Teacher,” in which students acquire knowledge of evolutionary theory from a teacher who does not herself believe the theory, has been discussed widely as a counterexample to so-called transmission theories of testimonial knowledge and justification. The case purports to show that a speaker need not herself have knowledge or justification in order to enable listeners to acquire knowledge or justification from her assertion. The original case has been criticized on the ground that it does not really (...)
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  10. Knowing What It is Like and Testimony.Yuri Cath - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-16.
    It is often said that ‘what it is like’-knowledge cannot be acquired by consulting testimony or reading books [Lewis 1998; Paul 2014; 2015a]. However, people also routinely consult books like What It Is Like to Go to War [Marlantes 2014], and countless ‘what it is like’ articles and youtube videos, in the apparent hope of gaining knowledge about what it is like to have experiences they have not had themselves. This article examines this puzzle and tries to solve it by (...)
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  11. Intellectualism and Testimony.Yuri Cath - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):1-9.
    Knowledge-how often appears to be more difficult to transmit by testimony than knowledge-that and knowledge-wh. Some philosophers have argued that this difference provides us with an important objection to intellectualism—the view that knowledge-how is a species of knowledge-that. This article defends intellectualism against these testimony-based objections.
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  12. The Epistemic Relevance of the Virtue of Justice.Stewart Clem - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (2):301-311.
    Recent literature on the relationship between knowledge and justice has tended to focus exclusively on the social and ethical dimensions of this relationship (e.g. social injustices related to knowledge and power, etc.). For the purposes of this article, I am interested in examining the virtue of justice and its effects on the cognitive faculties of its possessor (and, correspondingly, the effects of the vice of injustice). Drawing upon Thomas Aquinas’s account of the virtue of justice, I argue that in certain (...)
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  13. Expert-Oriented Abilities Vs. Novice-Oriented Abilities: An Alternative Account of Epistemic Authority.Michel Croce - forthcoming - Episteme.
    According to a recent account of epistemic authority proposed by Linda Zagzebski (2012), it is rational for laypersons to believe on authority when they conscientiously judge that the authority is more likely to form true beliefs and avoid false ones than they are in some domain. Christoph Jäger (2016) has recently raised several objections to her view. By contrast, I argue that both theories fail to adequately capture what epistemic authority is, and I offer an alternative account grounded in the (...)
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  14. Testing What’s at Stake: Defending Stakes Effects for Testimony.Michel Croce & Paul Poenicke - 2017 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):163-183.
    This paper investigates whether practical interests affect knowledge attributions in cases of testimony. It is argued that stakes impact testimonial knowledge attributions by increasing or decreasing the requirements for hearers to trust speakers and thereby gain the epistemic right to acquire knowledge via testimony. Standard, i.e. invariantist, reductionism and non-reductionism fail to provide a plausible account of testimony that is stakes sensitive, while non- invariantist versions of both traditional accounts can remedy this deficiency. Support for this conceptual analysis of stakes (...)
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  15. Testimony, Recovery and Plausible Deniability: A Response to Peet.Alex Davies - forthcoming - Episteme.
    According to telling based views of testimony (TBVs), B has reason to believe that p when A tells B that p because A thereby takes public responsibility for B's subsequent belief that p. Andrew Peet presents a new argument against TBVs. He argues that insofar as A uses context-sensitive expressions to express p, A doesn't take public responsibility for B's belief that p. Since context-sensitivity is widespread, the kind of reason TBVs say we have to believe what we're told, is (...)
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  16. Testimonial Knowledge and Context-Sensitivity: A New Diagnosis of the Threat.Alex Davies - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-17.
    Epistemologists typically assume that the acquisition of knowledge from testimony is not threatened at the stage at which audiences interpret what proposition a speaker has asserted. Attention is instead typically paid to the epistemic status of a belief formed on the basis of testimony that it is assumed has the same content as the speaker's assertion. Andrew Peet has pioneered an account of how linguistic context sensitivity can threaten the assumption. His account locates the threat in contexts in which an (...)
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  17. Have You Heard? The Rumour as Reliable.Matthew Dentith - 2013 - In Greg Dalziel (ed.), Rumour and Communication in Asia in the Internet Age. Routledge. pp. 46-61.
    Drawing on work by philosophers CAJ Coady and David Coady on the epistemology of rumours, I develop a theory which exploits the distinction between rumouring and rumour-mongering for the purpose of explaining why we should treat rumours as a species of justified belief. -/- Whilst it is true that rumour-mongering, the act of passing on a rumour maliciously, presents a pathology of the normally reliable transmission of rumours, I will argue that rumours themselves have a generally reliable transmission process, that (...)
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  18. In Defence of Conspiracy Theories.Matthew Dentith - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Auckland
    The purpose of this doctoral project is to explore the epistemic issues surrounding the concept of the conspiracy theory and to advance the analysis and evaluation of the conspiracy theory as a mode of explanation. The candidate is interested in the circumstances under which inferring to the truth or likeliness of a given conspiracy theory is, or is not, warranted.
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  19. Indoctrination Anxiety and the Etiology of Belief.Joshua DiPaolo & Robert Mark Simpson - 2016 - Synthese 193 (10).
    People sometimes try to call others’ beliefs into question by pointing out the contingent causal origins of those beliefs. The significance of such ‘Etiological Challenges’ is a topic that has started attracting attention in epistemology. Current work on this topic aims to show that Etiological Challenges are, at most, only indirectly epistemically significant, insofar as they bring other generic epistemic considerations to the agent’s attention. Against this approach, we argue that Etiological Challenges are epistemically significant in a more direct and (...)
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  20. Epistemic Injustice and Epistemic Redlining.Michael D. Doan - 2017 - Ethics and Social Welfare 11 (2):177-190.
    The practice of Emergency Management in Michigan raises anew the question of whose knowledge matters to whom and for what reasons, against the background of what projects, challenges, and systemic imperatives. In this paper, I offer a historical overview of state intervention laws across the United States, focusing specifically on Michigan’s Emergency Manager laws. I draw on recent analyses of these laws to develop an account of a phenomenon that I call epistemic redlining, which, I suggest, is a form of (...)
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  21. Communist Conventions for Deductive Reasoning.Sinan Dogramaci - 2015 - Noûs 49 (4):776-799.
    In section 1, I develop epistemic communism, my view of the function of epistemically evaluative terms such as ‘rational’. The function is to support the coordination of our belief-forming rules, which in turn supports the reliable acquisition of beliefs through testimony. This view is motivated by the existence of valid inferences that we hesitate to call rational. I defend the view against the worry that it fails to account for a function of evaluations within first-personal deliberation. In the rest of (...)
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  22. Reverse Engineering Epistemic Evaluations.Sinan Dogramaci - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (3):513-530.
    This paper begins by raising a puzzle about what function our use of the word ‘rational’ could serve. To solve the puzzle, I introduce a view I call Epistemic Communism: we use epistemic evaluations to promote coordination among our basic belief-forming rules, and the function of this is to make the acquisition of knowledge by testimony more efficient.
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  23. Other Voices, Other Minds.Theodore J. Everett - 2000 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (2):213-222.
    Solipsism can be refuted along fairly traditional, internalist lines, by means of a second-order induction. We are justified in believing in other minds, because other people tell us that they have minds, and we have good inductive reason to believe that whatever certain others say is likely to be true. This simple argument is sound, the author argues, even though we are in no prior position to believe that other thinking people exist as such, or that the sounds they make (...)
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  24. The Moral Obligations of Trust.Paul Faulkner - 2014 - Philosophical Explorations 17 (3):332-345.
    Moral obligation, Darwall argues, is irreducibly second personal. So too, McMyler argues, is the reason for belief supplied by testimony and which supports trust. In this paper, I follow Darwall in arguing that the testimony is not second personal ?all the way down?. However, I go on to argue, this shows that trust is not fully second personal, which in turn shows that moral obligation is equally not second personal ?all the way down?
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  25. Trust Me: News, Credibility Deficits, and Balance.Carrie Figdor - forthcoming - In Joe Saunders & CarlFox (eds.), Media Ethics, Free Speech, and the Requirements of Democracy. UK: Routledge.
    When a society is characterized by a climate of distrust, how does this impact the professional practices of news journalism? I focus on the practice of balance, or fair presentation of both sides in a story. I articulate a two-step model of how trust modulates the acceptance of tes-timony and draw out its implications for justifying the practice of balance.
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  26. Skeptical Stories: Introduction to Live Skepticism.Bryan Frances - manuscript
    The epistemological consequences of paradox are paradoxical. They can be usefully generated by telling a series of once-upon-a-time stories that make various philosophical points, starting out innocent and ending up, well, paradoxical. This is an introduction to my Live Skepticism, defended in Skepticism Comes Alive.
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  27. Group Accountability Versus Justified Belief: A Reply to Kukla.Karyn L. Freedman - 2015 - Social Epistemology Reply and Review Collective.
    In this paper I respond to Rebecca Kukla's (2014) "Commentary on Karyn Freedman, "Testimony and Epistemic Risk: The Dependence Account."".
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  28. Against Gullibility.Elizabeth Fricker - 1994 - In A. Chakrabarti & B. K. Matilal (eds.), Knowing from Words. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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  29. Speaking Freely: On Free Will and the Epistemology of Testimony.Matthew Frise - 2014 - Synthese 191 (7):1587-1603.
    Peter Graham has recently given a dilemma purportedly showing the compatibility of libertarianism about free will and the anti-skeptical epistemology of testimony. In the first part of this paper I criticize his dilemma: the first horn either involves a false premise or makes the dilemma invalid. The second horn relies without argument on an implausible assumption about testimonial knowledge, and even if granted, nothing on this horn shows libertarianism does not entail skepticism about testimonial justification. I then argue for the (...)
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  30. Agencia y paciencia de la utopía. [REVIEW]María G. Navarro - 2014 - Isegoría 50:408-414.
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  31. Virtue Epistemology and Explanatory Salience.Georgi Gardiner - forthcoming - In Heather Battaly (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Virtue Epistemology. Routledge.
    Robust virtue epistemology holds that knowledge is true belief obtained through cognitive ability. In this essay I explain that robust virtue epistemology faces a dilemma, and the viability of the theory depends on an adequate understanding of the ‘through’ relation. Greco interprets this ‘through’ relation as one of causal explanation; the success is through the agent’s abilities iff the abilities play a sufficiently salient role in a causal explanation of why she possesses a true belief. In this paper I argue (...)
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  32. Testimony as Speech Act, Testimony as Source.Peter J. Graham - 2015 - In Chienkuo Mi, Ernest Sosa & Michael Slote (eds.), Moral and Intellectual Virtues in Western and Chinese Philosophy: The Turn toward Virtue. Routledge. pp. 121-144.
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  33. Testimonial Entitlement and the Function of Comprehension.Peter J. Graham - 2010 - In Duncan Pritchard, Alan Millar & Adrian Haddock (eds.), Social Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 148--174.
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  34. Can Testimony Generate Knowledge?Peter J. Graham - 2006 - Philosophica 78:105-127.
    Orthodoxy in epistemology maintains that some sources of belief, e.g. perception and introspection, generate knowledge, while others, e.g. testimony and memory, preserve knowledge. An example from Jennifer Lackey B the Schoolteacher case B purports to show that testimony can generate knowledge. It is argued that Lackey's case fails to subvert the orthodox view, for the case does not involve the generation of knowledge by testimony. A modified version of the case does. Lackey's example illustrates the orthodox view; the revised case (...)
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  35. Liberal Fundamentalism and its Rivals.Peter J. Graham - 2006 - In Jennifer Lackey & Ernest Sosa (eds.), The Epistemology of Testimony. Oxford University Press. pp. 93--115.
    Many hold that perception is a source of epistemically basic (direct) belief: for justification, perceptual beliefs do not need positive inferential support from other justified beliefs, especially from beliefs about one’s current sensory episodes. Perceptual beliefs can, however, be defeated or undermined by other things one believes, and so to be justified in the end there must be no undefeated undermining grounds. Similarly for memory and introspection.1..
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  36. Metaphysical Libertarianism and the Epistemology of Testimony.Peter J. Graham - 2004 - American Philosophical Quarterly 41 (1):37-50.
    Reductionism about testimony holds that testimonial warrant or entitlement is just a species of inductive warrant. Anti-Reductionism holds that it is different from inductive but analogous to perceptual or memorial warrant. Perception receives much of its positive epistemic status from being reliably truthconducive in normal conditions. One reason to reject the epistemic analogy is that testimony involves agency – it goes through the will of the speaker – but perception does not. A speaker might always choose to lie or otherwise (...)
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  37. Epistemic Evaluations: Consequences, Costs and Benefits.Peter J. Graham, Megan Stotts, Zachary Bachman & Meredith McFadden - 2015 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4 (4):7-13.
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  38. Doubts About Philosophy? The Alleged Challenge From Disagreement.Thomas Grundmann - 2013 - In Tim Henning & David Schweikard (eds.), Knowledge, Virtue, and Action. Essays on Putting Epistemic Virtues to Work. Routledge. pp. 72-98.
    In philosophy, as in many other disciplines and domains, stable disagreement among peers is a widespread and well-known phenomenon. Our intuitions about paradigm cases, e.g. Christensen's Restaurant Case, suggest that in such controversies suspension of judgment is rationally required. This would prima facie suggest a robust suspension of judgment in philosophy. But we are still lacking a deeper theoretical explanation of why and under what conditions suspension is rationally mandatory. In the first part of this paper I will focus on (...)
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  39. Preferring Non-Testimonial Belief is a Social Virtue.Allan Hazlett - manuscript
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  40. How to Be a Pessimist About Aesthetic Testimony.Robert Hopkins - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy 108 (3):138-157.
    Is testimony a legitimate source of aesthetic belief? Can I, for instance, learn that a film is excellent on your say-so? Optimists say yes, pessimists no. But pessimism comes in two forms. One claims that testimony is not a legitimate source of aesthetic belief because it cannot yield aesthetic knowledge. The other accepts that testimony can be a source of aesthetic knowledge, yet insists that some further norm prohibits us from exploiting that resource. I argue that this second form of (...)
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  41. Testimony, Transmission, and Safety.Joachim Horvath - 2008 - Abstracta 4 (1):27-43.
    Most philosophers believe that testimony is not a fundamental source of knowledge, but merely a way to transmit already existing knowledge. However, Jennifer Lackey has presented some counterexamples which show that one can actually come to know something through testimony that no one ever knew before. Yet, the intuitive idea can be preserved by the weaker claim that someone in a knowledge-constituting testimonial chain has to have access to some non-testimonial source of knowledge with regard to what is testified. But (...)
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  42. Communication in Online Fan Communities: The Ethics of Intimate Strangers.Christine A. James - 2011 - Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication 2 (2):279-289.
    Dan O’Brien gives an excellent analysis of testimonial knowledge transmission in his article ‘Communication Between Friends’ (2009) noting that the reliability of the speaker is a concern in both externalist and internalist theories of knowledge. O’Brien focuses on the belief states of Hearers (H) in cases where the reliability of the Speaker (S) is known via ‘intimate trust’, a special case pertaining to friendships with a track record of reliable or unreliable reports. This article considers the notion of ‘intimate trust’, (...)
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