Testing What’s at Stake: Defending Stakes Effects for Testimony

Authors
Paul Poenicke
State University of New York, Buffalo
Michel Croce
University of Edinburgh
Abstract
This paper investigates whether practical interests affect knowledge attributions in cases of testimony. It is argued that stakes impact testimonial knowledge attributions by increasing or decreasing the requirements for hearers to trust speakers and thereby gain the epistemic right to acquire knowledge via testimony. Standard, i.e. invariantist, reductionism and non-reductionism fail to provide a plausible account of testimony that is stakes sensitive, while non- invariantist versions of both traditional accounts can remedy this deficiency. Support for this conceptual analysis of stakes is found through a review of the experimental philosophy literature on stakes effects on knowledge attribution. Finally, a diagnosis is offered for what is needed to provide a more robust defense of the paper’s primary claims in terms of future experimental study.
Keywords epistemology of testimony  stakes  experimental philosophy  pragmatic encroachment  epistemic contextualism
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