Christopher Ranalli
VU University Amsterdam
An epistemologist tells you that knowledge is more than justified true belief. You trust them and thus come to believe this on the basis of their testimony. Did you thereby come to know that this view is correct? Intuitively, there is something intellectually wrong with forming philosophical beliefs on the basis of testimony, and yet it's hard to see why philosophy should be significantly epistemically different from other areas of inquiry in a way that would fully prohibit belief by testimony. This, I argue, is the puzzle of philosophical testimony. In this paper, I explore the puzzle of philosophical testimony and its ramifications. In particular, I examine the case for pessimism about philosophical testimony—the thesis that philosophical belief on the basis of testimony is impossible or is in some way illegitimate—and I argue that it lacks adequate support. I then consider whether the source of the apparent intellectual wrongness of testimonial‐based philosophical belief is grounded in non‐epistemic norms and goals of philosophical practice itself and argue that such norms are implausible, don't conflict with testimonial‐based philosophical belief, or else are mere disciplinary norms, lacking substantial normative force that would make it wrong to form testimonial‐based philosophical belief.
Keywords Testimony  Philosophical knowledge  Philosophical disagreement  Intellectual autonomy
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,687
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Testimony, Testimonial Belief, and Safety.Charlie Pelling - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):205-217.
Circular Testimony.Stephen Wright - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2029-2048.
How to Be a Pessimist About Aesthetic Testimony.Robert Hopkins - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy 108 (3):138-157.
Aesthetic Testimony and the Norms of Belief Formation.Jon Robson - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):750-763.
The Informational Richness of Testimonial Contexts.Tim Kenyon - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (250):58-80.
On the Special Insult of Refusing Testimony.Allan Hazlett - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup1):37-51.
Believing the Incomprehensible God: Aquinas on Understanding God’s Testimony.O. P. James Dominic Rooney - forthcoming - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.


Added to PP index

Total views
37 ( #282,701 of 2,432,285 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #73,769 of 2,432,285 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes