What is wrong with moral testimony?

Abstract
Is it legitimate to acquire one’s moral beliefs on the testimony of others? The pessimist about moral testimony says not. But what is the source of the difficulty? Here pessimists have a choice. On the Unavailability view, moral testimony never makes knowledge available to the recipient. On Unusability accounts, although moral testimony can make knowledge available, some further norm renders it illegitimate to make use of the knowledge thus offered. I suggest that Unusability accounts provide the strongest form of pessimist view. I consider and reject five Unavailability accounts. I then argue that any such view will fail. But what is the norm rendering moral testimonial knowledge unusable? I suggest it lies in the requirement that we grasp for ourselves the moral reasons behind a moral view. This demand is one testimony cannot meet, and that claim holds whatever account we offer of the epistemology of testimony. However, while appeal to this requirement forms the most plausible pessimist view, it is another question whether pessimism is correct
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2007.00042.x
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 14,892
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Paulina Sliwa (2012). In Defense of Moral Testimony. Philosophical Studies 158 (2):175-195.
Jon Robson (2012). Aesthetic Testimony. Philosophy Compass 7 (1):1-10.
Sarah McGrath (2009). The Puzzle of Pure Moral Deference1. Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):321-344.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Jennifer Lackey (2006). Learning From Words. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (1):77–101.
Jennifer Lackey (2006). The Nature of Testimony. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2):177–197.
Robert Audi (2013). Testimony as a Social Foundation of Knowledge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):507-531.
Axel Gelfert (2006). Kant on Testimony. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 (4):627 – 652.
Philip Nickel (2001). Moral Testimony and its Authority. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (3):253-266.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

91 ( #25,332 of 1,709,406 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

13 ( #52,200 of 1,709,406 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.