Tesitmony as Significance Negotiation


Abstract
This dissertation addresses the following questions: How should epistemologists conceptualize testimony? What do people use testimony to do? And why does ‘what people do’ with testimony matter epistemically? In response to these questions I both define and characterize testimony. While doing so I argue for the following answers, given here very briefly: What do people do when they testify? They tell each other things and avow that those things are true, offering their statements to others as reasons to believe. More importantly, they interact with each other in order to negotiate about significance. Why do these activities matter epistemically? Because by engaging in them people generate understanding, as well as knowledge, that no one involved may have had prior to negotiation. Not only that, but they generate collective hermeneutic resources—conceptual tools with which to interpret and understand. In so doing, they not only learn, they create significance and construct social worlds, living together as epistemic, moral, and political agents. So, how should epistemologists conceptualize testimony? They should treat it as a particular speech act that most often occurs as part of a testimonial exchange—an interactive, interpretive, dialogical activity that people use in order to negotiate about significance and generate understanding. This characterization of testimony is an important contribution because it: reveals some of the distinctively social aspects of testimonial knowledge and understanding; suggests better answers to epistemic questions about testimony than those based on typical characterizations in the literature; leads discussion on the topic in a number of new directions; and it lays a foundation for an ethics of testimony that cannot be separated from epistemic concerns. Neither can those concerns be separated from social, moral, and political considerations. The position thus pushes epistemologists to investigate the intertwining of epistemic, moral, and political agency.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 46,330
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

The Social Construction of What?Ian Hacking - 1999 - Mind 109 (435):614-618.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.William P. Alston - 1969 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (79):172-179.
How to Do Things with Words.[author unknown] - 1962 - Mind 75 (298):262-285.
Literal Meaning.Kent Bach - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):487-492.

View all 74 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Epistemic Significance of Address.Benjamin McMyler - 2013 - Synthese 190 (6):1059-1078.
Testifying Understanding.Kenneth Boyd - 2017 - Episteme 14 (1):103-127.
The Nature of Testimony.Jennifer Lackey - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2):177–197.
Testimony: Acquiring Knowledge From Others.Jennifer Lackey - 2010 - In Alvin I. Goldman & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), Social Epistemology: Essential Readings. Oxford University Press.
Moral Dependence: Reliance on Moral Testimony.Philip James Nickel - 2002 - Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
II—Moral Testimony Pessimism: A Defence.Roger Crisp - 2014 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 88 (1):129-143.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-08-30

Total views
5 ( #1,067,235 of 2,286,096 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #571,423 of 2,286,096 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature