What's Wrong With Testimony? Defending the Epistemic Analogy between Testimony and Perception

In Jennifer Lackey & Aidan McGlynn (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Social Epistemology. Oxford University Press (2024)
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Abstract

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 positive reasons; (4) the argument from negative reasons; (5) the argument from agency; (6) the argument from psychological force; and (7) the argument from gullibility. If presumptivm is false, it is not for any of these arguments.

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Peter Graham
University of California, Riverside

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