David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 13:60-75 (2010)
Among contemporary epistemologists of testimony, David Hume is standardly regarded as a "global reductionist", where global reductionism requires the hearer to have sufficient first-hand knowledge of the facts in order to individually ascertain the reliability of the testimony in question. In the present paper, I argue that, by construing Hume's reductionism in too individualistic a fashion, the received view of Hume on testimony is inaccurate at best, and misleading at worst. Hume's overall position is more amenable to testimonial acceptance than has traditionally been thought. In particular, Hume believes that indirect evidence of human nature and of the social world around us, can take the place of first-hand evidence of the track record of individual speakers or specific classes of testimony. In developing this interpretation of Hume's views on testimony, the present paper draws on discussions found in the Treatise, the Enquiry, and in Hume's writings on historical knowledge.
|Keywords||Hume reductionism testimony human nature historical knowledge|
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Axel Gelfert (2010). Kant and the Enlightenment's Contribution to Social Epistemology. Episteme 7 (1):79-99.
Axel Gelfert (2013). Hume on Curiosity. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (4):711-732.
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