Reconsidering the role of inference to the best explanation in the epistemology of testimony

In his work on the epistemology of testimony, Peter Lipton developed an account of testimonial inference that aimed at descriptive adequacy as well as justificatory sophistication. According totestimonial inference to the best explanation‟ (TIBE), we accept what a speaker tells us because the truth of her claim figures in the best explanation of the fact that she made it. In the present paper, I argue for a modification of this picture. In particular, I argue that IBE plays a dual role in the management and justification of testimony. On the one hand, the coherence and success of our testimony-based projects provides general abductive support for a default stance of testimonial acceptance; on the other hand, we are justified in rejecting specific testimonial claims whenever the best explanation of the instances of testimony we encounter entails, or makes probable, the falsity or unreliability of the testimony in question.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2010.10.001
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References found in this work BETA
David Hume (2009/2004). An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), The Monist. Oxford University Press 112.
Tyler Burge (1993). Content Preservation. Philosophical Review 102 (4):457-488.
Elizabeth Fricker (1994). Against Gullibility. In A. Chakrabarti & B. K. Matilal (eds.), Knowing from Words. Kluwer
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Citations of this work BETA
David Botting (2013). A Priori Abduction. Argumentation 27 (2):167-181.
Nicholas Jardine & Marina Frasca-Spada (2015). The Pasts, Presents, and Futures of Testimony. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 52:95-100.

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