Testimony, Engineered Knowledge and Internalism

Philosophica 78 (2006)

Authors
Dan O'brien
Oxford Brookes University
Abstract
Testimonial knowledge sometimes depends on internalist epistemic conditions, those that thinkers are able to reflect upon. In the testimony literature the only internalist conditions that are considered are those concerning a hearer's knowledge of a speaker's reliability. I argue, however, that the relevant sense of internal"" should not be seen as referring to just the hearer's point of view, but rather to the points of view of both the hearer and the speaker. There are certain cases of testimonial knowledge transmission that depend on the speaker's knowledge of his audience. These include cases of ""engineered knowledge"" in which a speaker deviously manipulates a hearer's beliefs. Such knowledge is therefore internalist because it depends on factors that are internal to the point of view of the speaker, and not merely on externalist factors such as the reliability of the speakers' and hearers' beliefs."
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