Testimony and grammatical evidentials

In Miranda Fricker, Peter Graham, David Henderson, Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen & Jeremy Wyatt (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology. Routledge. pp. 135-144 (2020)
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Abstract

Unlike other sources of evidence like perception and memory, testimony is intimately related to natural language. That intimacy cannot be overlooked. In this chapter, I show how cross-linguistic considerations are relevant to the epistemology of testimony. I make my case with declaratives containing grammaticalized evidentials. My discussion has a negative and a positive part. For the negative part, it is argued that some definitions of testimony are mistaken because they do not apply to testimony offered by a declarative containing an evidential. The positive component discusses a new puzzle noted by McCready (2015) that evidentials raise about the justificatory status of testimony-based beliefs.

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Peter van Elswyk
Northwestern University

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