suggestions and Challenges for a Social Account of Sensitivity

Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 6 (5):18-26 (2016)
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In this paper, I put the claim that sensitivity is a necessary condition for knowledge under pressure, by considering its applicability with regard to testimonially-formed beliefs. Building on, and departing from, Goldberg, I positively draw out how we might understand the required sensitivity as a social interaction between speaker and hearer in testimonial cases. In doing so however, I identify a concern which places the whole notion of testimonial sensitivity in potential jeopardy: the problem of the reliable liar. I find an apparently paradoxical inverse relationship between better-differentiating methods that fulfil sensitivity conditions, and being able to have sensitive beliefs with regard to specific instances of testimony. After examining potential resolutions, I conclude that only a focus on minimally realising the problem, rather than “solving” it, will enable us to retain sensitivity as a necessary condition for testimonial-knowledge.



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Leonie Smith
University of Manchester

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References found in this work

Solving the skeptical problem.Keith DeRose - 1995 - Philosophical Review 104 (1):1-52.
How to defeat opposition to Moore.Ernest Sosa - 1999 - Philosophical Perspectives 13:137-49.
Against Gullibility.Elizabeth Fricker - 1994 - In A. Chakrabarti & B. K. Matilal (eds.), Knowing from Words. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

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