Miranda Fricker
CUNY Graduate Center
We gain information from collective, often institutional bodies all the time—from the publications of committees, news teams, or research groups, from web sites such as Wikipedia, and so on—but do these bodies ever function as genuine group testifiers as opposed to mere group sources of information? In putting the question this way I invoke a distinction made, if briefly, by Edward Craig, which I believe to be of deep significance in thinking about the distinctiveness of the speech act of testimony. The distinction is that between somebody’s functioning as a ‘good informant’ and their functioning merely as a ‘source of information’. The difference between these has, as he remarks, a crucial ethical aspect: What I have in mind is the special flavour of situations in which human beings treat each other as subjects with a common purpose, rather than as objects from which services, in this case true belief, can be extracted. In this paper I shall try to bring out the distinctive nature of the role of good informant in a way that helps to clarify what is at stake in asking whether there can be group testimony in the sense of genuinely collective testimony—that is to say, where the group testifier is a collective and not merely a sum of individuals testifying in one or another form of aggregated chorus.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy of Mind
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ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2011.00565.x
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References found in this work BETA

Trust and Antitrust.Annette Baier - 1986 - Ethics 96 (2):231-260.
Deciding to Believe.Bernard Williams - 1970 - In Problems of the Self. Cambridge University Press. pp. 136--51.
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On Telling and Trusting.Paul Faulkner - 2007 - Mind 116 (464):875-902.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Metaphysics of Social Groups.Katherine Ritchie - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (5):310-321.
Group Assertion.Jennifer Lackey - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (1):21-42.
Epistemological Problems of Testimony.Jonathan E. Adler - 2006 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Mark of a Good Informant.Catherine Z. Elgin - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35 (3):319-331.

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