What is testimony?

Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):227-232 (1997)
C.A.J. Coady, in his book Testimony: A Philosophical Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), offers conditions on an assertion that p to count as testimony. He claims that the assertion that p must be by a competent speaker directed to an audience in need of evidence and it must be evidence that p. I offer examples to show that Coady’s conditions are too strong. Testimony need not be evidence; the speaker need not be competent; and, the statement need not be relevant or directed to someone in need of evidence. I give alternative conditions. Coady was led into the stronger conditions by investigating testimony as it occurs in legal contexts, where special steps are taken to ensure that testimony provides the jury or the judge with evidence by a competent speaker that is relevant to the disputed question of the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9213.00057
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Jennifer Lackey (1999). Testimonial Knowledge and Transmission. Philosophical Quarterly 50 (197):471-490.
Duncan Pritchard (2004). The Epistemology of Testimony. Philosophical Issues 14 (1):326–348.
Jennifer Lackey (2006). The Nature of Testimony. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2):177–197.
Jennifer Lackey (2006). Knowing From Testimony. Philosophy Compass 1 (5):432–448.

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