European Journal of Philosophy 28 (1):142-163 (2020)

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 Philosophical testimony  Intellectual autonomy  Philosophical disagreement  Unusability  Disciplinary norms
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/ejop.12449
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 50,488
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

What Do Philosophers Believe?David Bourget & David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):465-500.
Understanding Why.Alison Hills - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):661-688.
In Defense of Moral Testimony.Paulina Sliwa - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):175-195.
Knowledge, Understanding and Epistemic Value.Duncan Pritchard - 2009 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 64:19-43.

View all 33 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Puzzle of Philosophical Testimony.Christopher Ranalli - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
Testimony and Grammatical Evidentials.Peter Van Elswyk - forthcoming - In Miranda Fricker, Peter Graham, David Henderson, Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen & Jeremy Wyatt (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology. Routledge.
The Nature of Testimony.Jennifer Lackey - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2):177–197.
Reverse Engineering Epistemic Evaluations.Sinan Dogramaci - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (3):513-530.
Circular Testimony.Stephen Wright - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2029-2048.
The Non-Remedial Value of Dependence on Moral Testimony.Paddy McShane - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):629-647.
Augustine on Testimony.Peter King & Nathan Ballantyne - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (2):pp. 195-214.
Donnellan on a Puzzle About Belief.Graeme Forbes - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 73 (2-3):169 - 180.
Testimony, Knowledge, and Epistemic Goals.Steven L. Reynolds - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 110 (2):139 - 161.
Dogmatism Repuzzled.Assaf Sharon & Levi Spectre - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (2):307 - 321.


Added to PP index

Total views
31 ( #310,754 of 2,326,739 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
13 ( #46,176 of 2,326,739 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes