Communicating Testimonial Commitment

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

I argue for the Cooperative Warrant Thesis (CWT), according to which the determinants of testimonial contents in communication are given by the practical requirements of cooperative action. This thesis distances itself from conventionalist views, according to which testimony must be strictly bounded by conventions of speech. CWT proves explanatorily better than conventionalism on several accounts. It offers a principled and accurate criterion to distinguish between testimonial and non-testimonial communication. In being goal-sensitive, this criterion captures the role of weak and robust cooperation in determining the contents to which speakers testify or fail to testify. And, finally, it yields a principled explanation of why testimony entails the epistemic commitments that distinguish it as an epistemic source.

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Alejandro Vesga
Princeton University

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