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Can Testimony Generate Knowledge?

Philosophica 78 (2):105-127 (2006)

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  1. A Dilemma for Globalized Safety.Bin Zhao - 2022 - Acta Analytica 37 (2):249-261.
    The safety condition is supposed to be a necessary condition on knowledge which helps to eliminate epistemic luck. It has been argued that the condition should be globalized to a set of propositions rather than the target proposition believed to account for why not all beliefs in necessary truths are safe. A remaining issue is which propositions are relevant when evaluating whether the target belief is safe or not. In the literature, solutions have been proposed to determine the relevance of (...)
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  • The transmission of knowledge and justification.Stephen Wright - 2016 - Synthese 193 (1):293-311.
    This paper explains how the notion of justification transmission can be used to ground a notion of knowledge transmission. It then explains how transmission theories can characterise schoolteacher cases, which have prominently been presented as counterexamples to transmission theories.
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  • Sincerity and Transmission.Stephen Wright - 2016 - Ratio 29 (1):42-56.
    According to some theories of testimonial knowledge, testimony can allow you, as a knowing speaker, to transmit your knowledge to me. A question in the epistemology of testimony concerns whether or not the acquisition of testimonial knowledge depends on the speaker's testimony being sincere. In this paper, I outline two notions of sincerity and argue that, construed in a certain way, transmission theorists should endorse the claim that the acquisition of testimonial knowledge requires sincerity.
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  • Internalism in the Epistemology of Testimony.Stephen Wright - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (1):69-86.
    This paper objects to internalist theories of justification from testimony on the grounds that they can’t accommodate intuitions about a pair of cases. The pair of cases involved is a testimonial version of the cases involved in the New Evil Demon Argument. The role of New Evil Demon cases in motivating contemporary internalist theories of knowledge and justification notwithstanding, it is argued here that testimonial cases make an intuitive case against internalist theories of justification from testimony.
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  • In Defence of Transmission.Stephen Wright - 2015 - Episteme 12 (1):13-28.
    According totransmissiontheories of testimony, a listener's belief in a speaker's testimony can be supported by the speaker's justification for what she says. The most powerful objection to transmission theories is Jennifer Lackey'spersistent believercase. I argue that important features about the epistemology of testimony reveal how transmission theories can account for Lackey's case. Specifically, I argue that transmission theorists should hold that transmission happens only if a listener believes a speaker's testimony based on the presumption that the speaker has justification for (...)
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  • Circular testimony.Stephen Wright - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2029-2048.
    According to internalist theories of testimony, beliefs based on what others say are justified by the reasons a listener uses in forming her belief. I identify a distinctive type of testimonial situation, which I call circular testimony and argue that a certain type of circular testimony establishes the incompleteness of internalist theories of testimony.
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  • A Reverse Interpretation Model of Testimony.Hamid Vahid - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (1):85-102.
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  • Testimonial contractarianism: A knowledge‐first social epistemology.Mona Simion - 2021 - Noûs 55 (4):891-916.
    According to anti‐reductionism in the epistemology of testimony, testimonial entitlement is easy to come by: all you need to do is listen to what you are being told. Say you like anti‐reductionism; one question that you will need to answer is how come testimonial entitlement comes so cheap; after all, people are free to lie.This paper has two aims: first, it looks at the main anti‐reductionist answers to this question and argues that they remain unsatisfactory. Second, it goes on a (...)
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  • Hearsay viewed through the lens of trust, reputation and coherence.Francesco Martini - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):4083-4099.
    Hearsay or indirect testimony receives little discussion even today in epistemology, and yet it represents one of the cardinal modes for the transmission of knowledge and for human cognitive development. It suffices to think of school education whereby a student listens to teachers reporting knowledge acquired, often indirectly, from the most varied sources such as text books, newspapers, personal memory, television, etc… Or let us consider the importance of oral tradition in the social and cultural development of civilisations. Or even (...)
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  • Understanding phenomena: From social to collective?Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2022 - Philosophical Issues (1):253-267.
    In making sense of the world, we typically cooperate, join forces, and draw on one another’s competence and expertise. A group or community in which there is a well-functioning division of cognitive-epistemic labor can achieve levels of understanding that a single agent who relies exclusively on her own capacities would probably never achieve. However, is understanding also collective? I.e., is understanding something that can be possessed by a group or community rather than by individuals? In this paper, I develop an (...)
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  • Can Testimony Generate Understanding?Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2019 - Social Epistemology 33 (6):477-490.
    Can we gain understanding from testifiers who themselves fail to understand? At first glance, this looks counterintuitive. How could a hearer who has no understanding or very poor understanding of a certain subject matter non-accidentally extract items of information relevant to understanding from a speaker’s testimony if the speaker does not understand what she is talking about? This paper shows that, when there are theories or representational devices working as mediators, speakers can intentionally generate understanding in their hearers by engaging (...)
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  • Is Testimonial Knowledge Second-Hand Knowledge?Federico Luzzi - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (4):899-918.
    Fricker has proposed that a hearer’s knowledge that p acquired through trusting a speaker requires the speaker to know that p, and that therefore testimonial knowledge through trust is necessarily second-hand knowledge. In this paper, I argue that Fricker’s view is problematic for four reasons: firstly, Fricker’s dismissal of a central challenge to the second-handedness of testimonial knowledge is based on a significant misrepresentation of this challenge; secondly, on closer scrutiny an important distinction Fricker wants to draw is compromised by (...)
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  • The Transmission View of Testimony and the Problem of Conflicting Justification.Nick Leonard - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (1):27-36.
    According to the Transmission View of Testimony : TVT: If a speaker testifies to a hearer that p, and if the hearer is justified in believing that p on the basis of that speaker's testimony, then the hearer's belief is justified by whatever justification the speaker has for believing that p. The aim of this paper is to develop and defend a novel objection to the TVT.
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  • Disagreement and the division of epistemic labor.Bjørn G. Hallsson & Klemens Kappel - 2018 - Synthese 197 (7):2823-2847.
    In this article we discuss what we call the deliberative division of epistemic labor. We present evidence that the human tendency to engage in motivated reasoning in defense of our beliefs can facilitate the occurrence of divisions of epistemic labor in deliberations among people who disagree. We further present evidence that these divisions of epistemic labor tend to promote beliefs that are better supported by the evidence. We show that promotion of these epistemic benefits stands in tension with what extant (...)
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  • The Transmission of Understanding.Adam Green - 2019 - Res Philosophica 96 (1):43-61.
    There is a substantial literature in epistemology concerning whether knowledge can be transmitted. So-called generative cases of testimony seem to show that testimony cannot transmit knowledge. This article defends the thesis that knowledge transmission by testimony is possible. Once one thinks more carefully about the model of transmission we are employing, however, the stage is set for two surprising results. Supposed counter-examples to knowledge transmission feature transmission in the relevant sense, and, more surprisingly, it is possible to transmit understanding, even (...)
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  • Testimonial Knowledge: A Unified Account.Peter J. Graham - 2016 - Philosophical Issues 26 (1):172-186.
    Here are three (rough) theories of testimonial knowledge. (1) Speaker's knowledge: a hearer acquires the knowledge that P though testimony because of the speaker's knowledge that P--testimony "transfers" knowledge. This is the popular view, defended by Elizabeth Fricker and Paul Faulkner, among others. (2) Speaker's assertion: a hearer acquires the knowledge that P through testimony because the speaker's assertion that P is reliable that P in the right way (safe or sensitive). That's Jennifer Lackey's view. (3) Speaker's comprehension state: a (...)
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  • Dretske & McDowell on perceptual knowledge, conclusive reasons, and epistemological disjunctivism.Peter J. Graham & Nikolaj J. L. L. Pedersen - 2020 - Philosophical Issues 30 (1):148-166.
    If you want to understand McDowell's spatial metaphors when he talks about perceptual knowledge, place him side-by-side with Dretske on perceptual knowledge. Though McDowell shows no evidence of reading Dretske's writings on knowledge from the late 1960s onwards (McDowell mentions "Epistemic Operators" once in passing), McDowell gives the same four arguments as Dretske for the conclusion that knowledge requires "conclusive" reasons that rule of the possibility of mistake. Despite various differences, we think it is best to read McDowell as re-discovering (...)
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  • Collective and extended knowledge.Paul Faulkner - 2022 - Philosophical Issues 32 (1):200-213.
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  • Models As Fictions, Fictions As Models.Gregory Currie - 2016 - The Monist 99 (3):296-310.
    Thinking of models in science as fictions is said to be helpful, not merely because models are known or assumed to be false, but because work on the nature of fiction helps us understand what models are and how they work. I am unpersuaded. For example, instead of trying to assimilate truth-in-a model to truth-in-fiction we do better to see both as special and separate cases of the more general notion truth-according-to-a-corpus. Does enlightenment go the other way? Do we better (...)
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  • 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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  • Epistemic buck-passing and the interpersonal view of testimony.Judith Baker & Philip Clark - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (2):178-199.
    Two ideas shape the epistemology of testimony. One is that testimony provides a unique kind of knowledge. The other is that testimonial knowledge is a social achievement. In traditional terms, those who affirm these ideas are anti-reductionists, and those who deny them are reductionists. There is increasing interest, however, in the possibility of affirming these ideas without embracing anti-reductionism. Thus, Sanford Goldberg uses the idea of epistemic buck-passing to argue that even reductionists can accept the uniqueness of testimonial knowledge, and (...)
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  • Verstehen verstehen. Eine erkenntnistheoretische Untersuchung.Federica Isabella Malfatti - 2023 - Berlin, Deutschland: Schwabe Verlag.
    Wir Menschen streben danach, die Wirklichkeit zu verstehen. Eine Welt, die wir gut verstehen, ist eine, die wir "im Griff" haben, mit der wir gut umgehen können. Aber was heißt es genau, ein Phänomen der Wirklichkeit zu verstehen? Wie sieht unser Weltbild aus, wenn wir ein Phänomen verstanden haben? Welche Bedingungen müssen erfüllt sein, damit Verstehen gelingt? Die Kernthese des Buches ist, dass wir Phänomene der Wirklichkeit durch noetische Integration verstehen. Wir verstehen Phänomene, indem wir den entsprechenden Informationseinheiten eine sinnvolle (...)
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  • 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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  • Recent Work on Testimonial Knowledge.John Greco - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (1):15-28.
    Recent interest in the epistemology of testimony can be traced to C. A. J. Coady's Testimony: A Philosophical Study (1992) and then a collection of papers edited by Bimal Krishna Matilal and Arindam Chakrabarti, Knowing from Words (1994). These two volumes framed several issues in the epistemology of testimony and largely set the agenda for work in that area over the next two decades. -/- One major issue in this literature is whether testimonial knowledge can be "reduced" to some other (...)
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  • Social Knowledge and Social Norms.Peter J. Graham - 2018 - In Markos Valaris & Stephen Hetherington (eds.), Knowledge in Contemporary Philosophy. London, UK: Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 111-138.
    Social knowledge, for the most part, is knowledge through testimony. This essay is an overview of the epistemology of testimony. The essay separates knowledge from justification, characterizes testimony as a source of belief, explains why testimony is a source of knowledge, canvasses arguments for anti-reductionism and for reductionism in the reductionism vs. anti-reductionism debate, addresses counterexamples to knowledge transmission, defends a safe basis account of testimonial knowledge, and turns to social norms as a partial explanation for the reliability of testimony.
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  • What's Wrong With Testimony? Defending the Epistemic Analogy between Testimony and Perception.Peter Graham - 2024 - In Jennifer Lackey & Aidan McGlynn (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Social Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter states the contrast between presumptivism about testimonial warrant (often called anti-reductionism) and strict reductionism (associated with Hume) about testimonial warrant. Presumptivism sees an analogy with modest foundationalism about perceptual warrant. Strict reductionism denies this analogy. Two theoretical frameworks for these positions are introduced to better formulate the most popular version of persumptivism, a competence reliabilist account. Seven arguments against presumptivism are then stated and critiqued: (1) The argument from reliability; (2) The argument from reasons; (3) the argument from (...)
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  • Testimony and the Scope of the A Priori.Peter Graham - forthcoming - In Dylan Dodd & Elia Zardini (eds.), Beyond Sense. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Tyler Burge famously argues in his 1993 paper "Content Preservation" that it is not only a priori true that we enjoy a prima facie warrant to take what others assert as true, but also that there our warrant to believe what we are told in certain special cases is a priori. So just as our warrant for believing certain mathematical truths might be a priori, so too there are cases of belief through testimony that are a priori. Then in a (...)
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  • Epistemological problems of testimony.Jonathan E. Adler - 2006 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Higher-order defeat in collective moral epistemology.J. Adam Carter & Dario Mortini - 2020 - In Michael Klenk (ed.), Higher Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology. Routledge.
    This chapter discusses methodology in epistemology. It argues that settling the facts, even the epistemic facts, fails to settle the questions of intellectual policy at the centre of our epistemic lives. One upshot is that the standard methodology of analysing concepts like knowledge, justification, rationality, and so on is misconceived. More generally, any epistemic method that seeks to issue in intellectual policy by settling the facts, whether by way of abductive theorizing or empirical investigation, no matter how reliable, is inapt. (...)
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