What is testimony?

Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):227-232 (1997)
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Abstract

C.A.J. Coady, in his book Testimony: A Philosophical Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), offers conditions on an assertion that p to count as testimony. He claims that the assertion that p must be by a competent speaker directed to an audience in need of evidence and it must be evidence that p. I offer examples to show that Coady’s conditions are too strong. Testimony need not be evidence; the speaker need not be competent; and, the statement need not be relevant or directed to someone in need of evidence. I give alternative conditions. Coady was led into the stronger conditions by investigating testimony as it occurs in legal contexts, where special steps are taken to ensure that testimony provides the jury or the judge with evidence by a competent speaker that is relevant to the disputed question of the guilt or innocence of the defendant.

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Peter Graham
University of California, Riverside

Citations of this work

Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology.Annalisa Coliva - 2015 - London, England: Palgrave-Macmillan.
Testimonial Knowledge and Transmission.Jennifer Lackey - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (197):471-490.
Group Assertion.Jennifer Lackey - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (1):21-42.
Epistemological Problems of Testimony.Jonathan E. Adler - 2006 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Nature of Testimony.Jennifer Lackey - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2):177–197.

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References found in this work

Concepts of Evidence.Peter Achinstein - 1978 - Mind 87 (345):22-45.
Reasons, Knowledge, and Probability.Fred I. Dretske - 1971 - Philosophy of Science 38 (2):216-220.

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