Assurance and warrant

Philosophers' Imprint 14 (17) (2014)
Previous assurance-theoretic treatments of testimony have not adequately explained how the transmission of warrant depends specifically on the speaker’s mode of address – making it natural to suspect that the interpersonal element is not epistemic but merely psychological or action-theoretic. I aim to fill that explanatory gap: to specify exactly how a testifier’s assurance can create genuine epistemic warrant. In doing so I explain (a) how the illocutionary norm governing the speech act proscribes not lies but a species of bullshit, in an extension of Harry Frankfurt’s sense, (b) how that norm makes testimony fully second-personal, in Stephen Darwall’s sense, or bipolar, in Michael Thompson’s sense, and (c) how that species of second-personality or bipolarity is more fundamental than the practical species that Darwall and Thompson discuss. One attraction of this new Assurance View of testimony is that it allows us to reconceptualize the natures of normativity and responsibility more generally, viewing the assurance as implicating us in normative relations of recognition, and therefore of justice, that are not yet moralized with reactive attitudes.
Keywords testimony  assurance  epistemic warrant
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Philip J. Nickel (2012). Trust and Testimony. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (3):301-316.

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