Testifying understanding

Episteme 14 (1):103-127 (2017)

Authors
Kenneth Boyd
University of Southern Denmark
Abstract
While it is widely acknowledged that knowledge can be acquired via testimony, it has been argued that understanding cannot. While there is no consensus about what the epistemic relationship of understanding consists in, I argue here that regardless of how understanding is conceived there are kinds of understanding that can be acquired through testimony: easy understanding and easy-s understanding. I address a number of aspects of understanding that might stand in the way of being able to acquire understanding through testimony, focusing on understanding ’s paradigmatic form and what it means to say that in order to understand something you need to “grasp” some information or the relationship between bits of information. I argue that in cases of both easy and easy-s understanding, no aspect of understanding stands in the way of it being able to acquire it through testimony. As a result, while not all understanding be acquired through testimony in all instances and for all subjects, this failure of acquisition is only a product of the complexity of the relevant information or one’s unfamiliarity with it, and not a product of the epistemic relationship of understanding
Keywords testimony  understanding  knowledge  epistemology  grasping
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DOI 10.1017/epi.2015.53
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References found in this work BETA

Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?Edmund Gettier - 1963 - Analysis 23 (6):121-123.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):421-423.
Discrimination and Perceptual Knowledge.Alvin I. Goldman - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (November):771-791.

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Citations of this work BETA

Understanding and Trusting Science.Matthew H. Slater, Joanna K. Huxster & Julia E. Bresticker - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (2):247-261.
Moral Understanding, Testimony, and Moral Exemplarity.Michel Croce - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-17.
Moral Understanding and Cooperative Testimony.Kenneth Boyd - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):18-33.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

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