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Testimonial Entitlement and the Function of Comprehension

In Duncan Pritchard, Alan Millar & Adrian Haddock (eds.), Social Epistemology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 148--174 (2010)

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  1. Epistemic Internalism and Testimonial Justification.Jonathan Egeland - 2020 - Episteme 17 (4):458-474.
    ABSTRACTAccording to epistemic internalists, facts about justification supervene upon one's internal reasons for believing certain propositions. Epistemic externalists, on the other hand, deny this. More specifically, externalists think that the supervenience base of justification isn't exhausted by one's internal reasons for believing certain propositions. In the last decade, the internalism–externalism debate has made its mark on the epistemology of testimony. The proponent of internalism about the epistemology of testimony claims that a hearer's testimonial justification for believing that p supervenes upon (...)
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  • The Symmetry Problem for Testimonial Conservatism.Matthew Jope - 2021 - Synthese 1:1-19.
    A prima facie plausible and widely held view in epistemology is that the epistemic standards governing the acquisition of testimonial knowledge are stronger than the epistemic standards governing the acquisition of perceptual knowledge. Conservatives about testimony hold that we need prior justification to take speakers to be reliable but recognise that the corresponding claim about perception is deeply problematic. The problem for conservatives is how to establish theoretically significant differences between testimony and perception that would support asymmetrical epistemic standards. In (...)
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  • Formulating Reductionism About Testimonial Warrant and the Challenge From Childhood Testimony.Peter Graham - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3013-3033.
    The case of very young children is a test case for the plausibility of reductionism about testimonial warrant. Reductionism requires reductive reasons, reductively justified and actively deployed for testimonial justification. Though nascent language-users enjoy warranted testimony based beliefs, they do not meet these three reductionist demands. This paper clearly formulates reductionism and the infant/child objection. Two rejoinders are discussed: an influential conceptual argument from Jennifer Lackey’s paper “Testimony and the Infant/Child Objection” and the growing empirical evidence from developmental psychology on (...)
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  • The Function of Assertion and Social Norms.Peter Graham - 2020 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 727-748.
    A proper function of an entity is a beneficial effect that helps explain the persistence of the entity. Proper functions thereby arise through feedback mechanisms with beneficial effects as inputs and persistence as outputs. We continue to make assertions because they benefit speakers by benefiting speakers. Hearers benefit from true information. Speakers benefit by influencing hearer belief. If hearers do not benefit, they will not form beliefs in response to assertions. Speakers can then only maintain influence by providing true information, (...)
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  • Assertion: A Function First Account.Christoph9 Kelp - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):411-442.
    This paper aims to develop a novel account of the normativity of assertion. Its core thesis is that assertion has an etiological epistemic function, viz. to generate knowledge in hearers. In conjunction with a general account of etiological functions and their normative import, it is argued that an assertion is epistemically good if and only if it has the disposition to generate knowledge in hearers. In addition, reason is provided to believe that it makes sense to regulate the practice of (...)
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  • Does Justification Aim at Truth?Peter J. Graham - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (1):51-72.
    Does epistemic justification aim at truth? The vast majority of epistemologists instinctively answer 'Yes'; it's the textbook response. Joseph Cruz and John Pollock surprisingly say no. In 'The Chimerical Appeal of Epistemic Externalism' they argue that justification bears no interesting connection to truth; justification does not even aim at truth. 'Truth is not a very interesting part of our best understanding' of justification (C&P 2004, 137); it has no 'connection to the truth.' A 'truth-aimed ... epistemology is not entitled to (...)
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  • Testimonial Knowledge: A Unified Account.Peter J. Graham - 2016 - Philosophical Issues 26 (1):172-186.
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  • Epistemic Entitlement.Peter J. Graham - 2012 - Noûs 46 (3):449-482.
    What is the best account of process reliabilism about epistemic justification, especially epistemic entitlement? I argue that entitlement consists in the normal functioning (proper operation) of the belief-forming process when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as an etiological function. Etiological functions involve consequence explanation: a belief-forming process has forming true beliefs reliably as a function just in case forming-true beliefs reliably partly explains the persistence of the process. This account paves the way for avoiding standard objections to process (...)
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  • Knowledge‐First Functionalism.Mona Simion - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):254-267.
    This paper has two aims. The first is critical: I identify a set of normative desiderata for accounts of justified belief and I argue that prominent knowledge first views have difficulties meeting them. Second, I argue that my preferred account, knowledge first functionalism, is preferable to its extant competitors on normative grounds. This account takes epistemically justified belief to be belief generated by properly functioning cognitive processes that have generating knowledge as their epistemic function.
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  • Reactive Attitudes as Communicative Entities.Coleen Macnamara - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (3):546-569.
    Many theorists claim that the reactive emotions, even in their private form, are communicative entities. But as widely endorsed as this claim is, it has not been redeemed: the literature lacks a clear and compelling account of the sense in which reactive attitudes qua private mental states are essentially communicative. In this paper, I fill this gap. I propose that it is apt to characterize privately held reactive attitudes as communicative in nature because they, like many paradigmatic forms of communication, (...)
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  • Testimony, Trust, and Social Norms.Peter J. Graham - 2012 - Abstracta 6 (S6):92-116.
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  • Internalism and Externalism in the Epistemology of Testimony.Mikkel Gerken - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):532-557.
    Is the nature of testimonial warrant epistemically internalist or externalist? I will argue that the question should be answered ‘yes!’ The disjunction is not exclusive. Rather, a testimonial belief may possess epistemically internalist warrant—justification—as well as epistemically externalist warrant—entitlement. I use the label ‘pluralism’ to denote the view that there are both internalist and externalist species of genuinely epistemic warrant and argue for pluralism in the epistemology of testimony.
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  • Outsourced Cognition.Mikkel Gerken - 2014 - Philosophical Issues 24 (1):127-158.
    Recent developments in technologically enabled social cognition call for a rethinking of many aspects of human cognition. According to the hypothesis of extended cognition, we must revise our psychological categories by eliminating allegedly superficial distinctions between internal cognition and external processes. As an alternative to this proposal, I outline a hypothesis of outsourced cognition which seeks to respect distinctions that are operative in both folk psychology and the social and cognitive sciences. According to this hypothesis, the cognitive states and processes (...)
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  • Absolutism, Relativism and Metaepistemology.J. Adam Carter & Robin McKenna - 2019 - Erkenntnis 86 (5):1139-1159.
    This paper is about two topics: metaepistemological absolutism and the epistemic principles governing perceptual warrant. Our aim is to highlight—by taking the debate between dogmatists and conservativists about perceptual warrant as a case study—a surprising and hitherto unnoticed problem with metaepistemological absolutism, at least as it has been influentially defended by Paul Boghossian as the principal metaepistemological contrast point to relativism. What we find is that the metaepistemological commitments at play on both sides of this dogmatism/conservativism debate do not line (...)
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  • The Symmetry Problem for Testimonial Conservatism.Matthew Jope - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6149-6167.
    A prima facie plausible and widely held view in epistemology is that the epistemic standards governing the acquisition of testimonial knowledge are stronger than the epistemic standards governing the acquisition of perceptual knowledge. Conservatives about testimony hold that we need prior justification to take speakers to be reliable but recognise that the corresponding claim about perception is practically a non-starter. The problem for conservatives is how to establish theoretically significant differences between testimony and perception that would support asymmetrical epistemic standards. (...)
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  • The Ethics and Epistemology of Trust.J. Adam Carter, and & Mona Simion - 2020 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Trust is a topic of longstanding philosophical interest. It is indispensable to every kind of coordinated human activity, from sport to scientific research. Even more, trust is necessary for the successful dissemination of knowledge, and by extension, for nearly any form of practical deliberation and planning. Without trust, we could achieve few of our goals and would know very little. Despite trust’s fundamental importance in human life, there is substantial philosophical disagreement about what trust is, and further, how trusting is (...)
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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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  • How to Be an Anti-Reductionist.Mona Simion & Christoph Kelp - 2020 - Synthese 197 (7):2849-2866.
    One popular view in recent years takes the source of testimonial entitlement to reside in the intrinsically social character of testimonial exchanges. This paper looks at two extant incarnations of this view, what we dub ‘weak’ and ‘modest’ social anti-reductionism, and questions the rationales behind their central claims. Furthermore, we put forth an alternative, strong social anti-reductionist account, and show how it does better than the competition on both theoretical and empirical grounds.
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  • Sneaky Assertions.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2018 - Philosophical Perspectives 32 (1):188-218.
    Some speech acts are made indirectly. It is thus natural to think that assertions could also be made indirectly. Grice’s conversational implicatures appear to be just a case of this, in which one indirectly makes an assertion or a related constative act by means of a declarative sentence. Several arguments, however, have been given against indirect assertions, by Davis (1999), Fricker (2012), Green (2007, 2015), Lepore & Stone (2010, 2015) and others. This paper confronts and rejects three considerations that have (...)
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  • Moral Assertion.Christoph Kelp - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3-4):639-649.
    In this paper, I introduce a puzzle about moral assertion and defend a solution that centrally features the claim that the normativity of moral assertion centrally features moral understanding.
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  • The Explanation Proffering Norm of Moral Assertion.Mona Simion - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3):477-488.
    In recent years, much attention has been given to the epistemic credentials of belief based on moral testimony. Some people think pure moral deference is wrong, others disagree. It comes as a surprise, however, that while the epistemic responsibilities of the receiver of moral testimony have been closely scrutinized, little to no discussion has focused on the epistemic duties of the speaker. This paper aims to supply this lack: it defends a function-first account of the normativity of moral assertion. According (...)
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  • Etiology, Understanding, and Testimonial Belief.Andrew Peet - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1547-1567.
    The etiology of a perceptual belief can seemingly affect its epistemic status. There are cases in which perceptual beliefs seem to be unjustified because the perceptual experiences on which they are based are caused, in part, by wishful thinking, or irrational prior beliefs. It has been argued that this is problematic for many internalist views in the epistemology of perception, especially those which postulate immediate perceptual justification. Such views are unable to account for the impact of an experience’s etiology on (...)
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  • Social Knowledge and Social Norms.Peter J. Graham - 2018 - In The Philosophy of Knowledge: A History. Volume IV: Knowledge in Contemporary Philosophy. London: pp. 111-138.
    Social knowledge, for the most part, is knowledge through testimony. This 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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  • Internalism and the Nature of Justification.Jonathan Egeland Harouny - 2020 - Dissertation, Stockholm University
    There are many important dimensions of epistemic evaluation, one of which is justification. We don’t just evaluate beliefs for truth, reliability, accuracy, and knowledge, but also for justification. However, in the epistemological literature, there is much disagreement about the nature of justification and how it should be understood. One of the controversies that has separated the contemporary epistemological discourse into two opposing camps has to do with the internalism-externalism distinction. Whereas internalists defend certain core assumptions about justification from the pre-Gettier (...)
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  • The Function of Perception.Peter J. Graham - 2014 - In Abrol Fairweather (ed.), Virtue Scientia: Bridges between Virtue Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Synthese Library. pp. 13-31.
    What is the biological function of perception? I hold perception, especially visual perception in humans, has the biological function of accurately representing the environment. Tyler Burge argues this cannot be so in Origins of Objectivity (Oxford, 2010), for accuracy is a semantical relationship and not, as such, a practical matter. Burge also provides a supporting example. I rebut the argument and the example. Accuracy is sometimes also a practical matter if accuracy partly explains how perception contributes to survival and reproduction.
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  • Why is Warrant Normative?Peter J. Graham - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):110-128.
    Having an etiological function to F is sufficient to have a competence to F. Having an etiological function to reliably F is sufficient to have a reliable competence, a competence to reliably F. Epistemic warrant consists in the normal functioning of the belief-forming process when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as an etiological function. Epistemic warrant requires reliable competence. Warrant divides into two grades. The first consists in normal functioning, when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as (...)
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  • A Transcendental Argument From Testimonial Knowledge to Content Externalism.Mikkel Gerken - forthcoming - Noûs.
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  • Blame, Communication, and Morally Responsible Agency.Coleen Macnamara - 2015 - In Randolph Clarke, Michael McKenna & Angela Smith (eds.), The Nature of Moral Responsibility: New Essays. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 211-236.
    Many important theorists – e.g., Gary Watson and Stephen Darwall – characterize blame as a communicative entity and argue that this entails that morally responsible agency requires not just rational but moral competence. In this paper, I defend this argument from communication against three objections found in the literature. The first two reject the argument’s characterization of the reactive attitudes. The third urges that the argument is committed to a false claim.
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  • Perception, History and Benefit.Mona3 Simion - 2016 - Episteme 13 (1):61-76.
    In recent literature, several authors attempt to naturalize epistemic normativity by employing an etiological account of functions. The thought is that epistemic entitlement consists in the normal functioning of our belief-acquisition systems, where the latter acquire the function to reliably deliver true beliefs through a history of biological benefit.
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  • Sincerity and the Reliability of Testimony: Burge on the A Priori Basis of Testimonial Entitlement.Peter Graham - 2018 - In Andreas Stokke & Eliot Michaelson (eds.), Lying: Language, Knowledge, Ethics, Politics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 85-112.
    According to the Acceptance Principle, a person is entitled to accept a proposition that is presented as true (asserted) and that is intelligible to him or her, unless there are stronger reasons not to. Burge assumes this Principle and then argues that it has an apriori justification, basis or rationale. This paper expounds Burge's teleological reliability framework and the details of his a priori justification for the Principle. It then raises three significant doubts.
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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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