Testimonial knowledge and transmission

Philosophical Quarterly 49 (197):471-490 (1999)
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Abstract

We often talk about knowledge being transmitted via testimony. This suggests a picture of testimony with striking similarities to memory. For instance, it is often assumed that neither is a generative source of knowledge: while the former transmits knowledge from one speaker to another, the latter preserves beliefs from one time to another. These considerations give rise to a stronger and a weaker thesis regarding the transmission of testimonial knowledge. The stronger thesis is that each speaker in a chain of testimonial transmission must know that p in order to pass this knowledge to a hearer. The weaker thesis is that at least the first speaker must know that p in order for any hearer in the chain to come to know that p via testimony. I argue that both theses are false, and hence testimony, unlike memory, can be a generative source of knowledge

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Jennifer Lackey
Northwestern University

Citations of this work

Norms of assertion.Jennifer Lackey - 2007 - Noûs 41 (4):594–626.
The Limitations of the Open Mind.Jeremy Fantl - 2018 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

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References found in this work

Philosophical explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Epistemology and cognition.Alvin I. Goldman - 1986 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Warrant and proper function.Alvin Plantinga - 1993 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Theory of knowledge.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,: Prentice-Hall.

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