Read e-book online A Critical Introduction to Testimony PDF

By Axel Gelfert

ISBN-10: 1441193502

ISBN-13: 9781441193506

The epistemology of testimony is a speedily constructing region in modern analytic philosophy. during this first thorough survey of the new debate at the topic, Axel Gelfert presents an in-depth advent to what has turn into one of many liveliest debates in modern epistemology.

Covering latest literature and significant debates, A severe advent to Testimony discusses the epistemic prestige of testimony-based ideals, relates alterations to suitable advancements in different components and gives a severe standpoint on present and destiny examine traits. Devoting house to either the functions of social epistemology and the bigger conceptual problems with wisdom, Gelfert not just introduces the epistemology of testimony; he deals an updated advent to epistemology. outfitted with a mixture of research questions, examples, and proposals for extra studying, scholars of up to date epistemology will locate this a competent consultant to learning testimony as a resource of knowledge.

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Example text

In both cases the inquiring party acquires knowledge by being told. The fact that such testimonial exchanges strike us as trivial – too trivial, perhaps, to 40 A CRITICAL INTRODUCTION TO TESTIMONY warrant the designation ‘testimony’ – only goes to show just how basic an ingredient in everyday life the ordinary giving and receiving of knowledge is. As Trudy Govier puts it: ‘Our way of life includes the social practices of asking and telling’, and in particular the ‘social practices of asking questions and telling people answers’ (Govier 1993a: 20).

S gives speaker testimony that p if and only if, by performing an act of communication a, S reasonably intends to convey the information that p (in part) in virtue of a’s communicable content. ] S gives hearer testimony that p if and only if, by performing an act of communication a, S ’s audience reasonably takes a as conveying the information that p (in part) in virtue of a’s communicable content. ). The difference lies in the divergent perspectives of the speaker and hearer, specifically between the speaker’s intention to communicate and the audience’s interpreting an act of communication as conveying content.

John Mackie speaks of testimony as simply a way of acquiring knowledge ‘by being told by other people, by reading, and so on’ (Mackie 1969: 254); in a similar vein, Catherine Elgin characterizes the domain of testimony as consisting of ‘utterances and inscriptions that purport to convey information and transmit warrant for the information they convey’ (Elgin 2002: 292). Ernest Sosa nicely sums up the spirit of this inclusive way of thinking about testimony, when he endorses ‘a broad sense of testimony that counts posthumous publications as examples’, requiring only ‘that it be a statement of someone’s thoughts or beliefs, which they might direct to the world at large and to no one in particular’ (Sosa 1991: 219).

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A Critical Introduction to Testimony by Axel Gelfert


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