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The Epistemology of Testimony

Oxford University Press (2006)

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  1. Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology.Annalisa Coliva - 2015 - London, England: Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology provides a novel account of the structure of epistemic justification. Its central claim builds upon Wittgenstein's idea in On Certainty that epistemic justifications hinge on some basic assumptions and that epistemic rationality extends to these very hinges. It exploits these ideas to address major problems in epistemology, such as the nature of perceptual justifications, external world skepticism, epistemic relativism, the epistemic status of basic logical laws, of the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature, of our (...)
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  • Accounting for Oneself in Teaching: Trust, Parrhesia, and Bad Faith.Alison M. Brady - 2022 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 41 (3):273-286.
    This paper seeks to reconceptualise the basis for trusting teachers in current educational discourses. It proposes moving away from trust based on ‘absolute accuracy’ to trust as encapsulated in the practice of parrhesia. On the surface, parrhesia appears to be the opposite of Sartre’s concept of ‘bad faith’. Paradoxically, however, our attempts to be sincere in our accounts are inevitably tainted by this. This paradox is especially evident in autobiographical writing, an activity that is both parrhesiastic in nature and susceptible (...)
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  • Contributions of Socially Distributed Cognition to Social Epistemology: The Case of Testimony.Anna Estany & David Casacuberta - 2012 - Eidos: Revista de Filosofía de la Universidad Del Norte 16:40-68.
    El objetivo de este artículo es analizar y revisar las normas que filosóficamente asociamos al proceso de testimonio, inquiriendo hasta qué puntoson0 consistentes con los conocimientos empíricos de las ciencias cognitivas.Tradicionalmente, el problema del testimonio surgía cuando, desde una epistemología de corte individualista, se suponía, siguiendo el dictum ya marcado en la Modernidad tanto por racionalistas como por empiristas, de que el conocimiento debía ser testado personalmente. Sin embargo, disciplinas y enfoques recientes, como la Cognición Socialmente Distribuida y la Epistemología (...)
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  • Inquiry and the Epistemic.David Thorstad - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2913-2928.
    The zetetic turn in epistemology raises three questions about epistemic and zetetic norms. First, there is the relationship question: what is the relationship between epistemic and zetetic norms? Are some epistemic norms zetetic norms, or are epistemic and zetetic norms distinct? Second, there is the tension question: are traditional epistemic norms in tension with plausible zetetic norms? Third, there is the reaction question: how should theorists react to a tension between epistemic and zetetic norms? Drawing on an analogy to practical (...)
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  • Monitoring and Anti-Reductionism in the Epistemology of Testimony.Sanford Goldberg & David Henderson - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (3):600 - 617.
    One of the central points of contention in the epistemology of testimony concerns the uniqueness (or not) of the justification of beliefs formed through testimony--whether such justification can be accounted for in terms of, or 'reduced to,' other familiar sort of justification, e.g. without relying on any epistemic principles unique to testimony. One influential argument for the reductionist position, found in the work of Elizabeth Fricker, argues by appeal to the need for the hearer to monitor the testimony for credibility. (...)
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  • Modeling Corroborative Evidence: Inference to the Best Explanation as Counter–Rebuttal.David Godden - 2014 - Argumentation 28 (2):187-220.
    Corroborative evidence has a dual function in argument. Primarily, it functions to provide direct evidence supporting the main conclusion. But it also has a secondary, bolstering function which increases the probative value of some other piece of evidence in the argument. This paper argues that the bolstering effect of corroborative evidence is legitimate, and can be explained as counter–rebuttal achieved through inference to the best explanation. A model (argument diagram) of corroborative evidence, representing its structure and operation as a schematic (...)
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  • Towards Social Accounts of Testimonial Asymmetries.Allan Hazlett - 2017 - Noûs 51 (1):49–73.
    there seems to be some kind of asymmetry, at least in some cases, between moral testimony and non-moral testimony, between aesthetic testimony and non-aesthetic testimony, and between religious testimony and non-religious testimony. In these domains, at least in some cases, we object to deference, and for this reason expect people to form their beliefs on non-testimonial grounds, in a way that we do not object to deference in paradigm cases of testimonial knowledge. Our philosophical puzzle is therefore: what explains these (...)
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  • The Division of Epistemic Labor.Sandy Goldberg - 2011 - Episteme 8 (1):112-125.
    In this paper I formulate the thesis of the Division of Epistemic Labor as a thesis of epistemic dependence, illustrate several ways in which individual subjects are epistemically dependent on one or more of the members of their community in the process of knowledge acquisition, and draw conclusions about the cognitively distributed nature of some knowledge acquisition.
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  • Epistemic Justification of Testimonial Beliefs and the Categories of Egophoricity and Evidentiality in Natural Languages: An Insoluble Paradox of Thomas Reid's Anti-Reductionism.Elżbieta Łukasiewicz - 2020 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 62 (1):137-168.
    The paper is concerned with the epistemological status of testimony and the question of what may confer justification on true testimonial beliefs and enable us to call such beliefs knowledge. In particular, it addresses certain anti-reductionist arguments in the epistemology of testimony and their incompatibility with the grammatical categories of egophoricity and evidentiality present in the architecture of natural languages. First, the tradition of epistemological individualism and its rationale are discussed, as well as certain attempts within this tradition to include (...)
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  • The Nature of Testimony.Jennifer Lackey - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (2):177–197.
    I discuss several views of the nature of testimony and show how each proposal has importantly different problems. I then offer a diagnosis of the widespread disagreement regarding this topic; specifically, I argue that our concept of testimony has two different aspects to it. Inadequate views of testimony, I claim, result either from collapsing these two aspects into a single account or from a failure to recognize one of them. Finally, I develop an alternative view of testimony that captures both (...)
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  • Questioning the Use Value of Qualitative Research Findings.Martin Lipscomb - 2012 - Nursing Philosophy 13 (2):112-125.
    In this paper the use value of qualitative research findings to nurses in practice is questioned. More precisely it is argued that, insofar as action follows belief then, in all but the rarest of cases, the beliefs that nurses in practice can justifiably derive from or form on the basis of qualitative research findings do not sanction action in the world and the assumption, apparently widely held, that qualitative research can as evidence productively inform practice collapses. If qualitative research does (...)
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  • Knowing From Testimony.Jennifer Lackey - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (5):432–448.
  • EPISTEMOLOGIA DO TESTEMUNHO: críticas à refutação do reducionismo local quanto ao desempenho justificacional do testemunho.Ronaldo Miguel da Silva - 2014 - Cadernos Do Pet Filosofia 5 (9):17-32.
    A epistemologia do testemunho tem reacendido forte interesse entre a classe dos atuais epistemólogos. Tem sido redescoberta a sua indispensabilidade epistêmica e reassumida a posição de que o testemunho é uma fonte de crenças penetrante e natural, no qual muitas das crenças nele fundamentadas constituem conhecimento e estão justificadas. Reducionistas e antirreducionistas se alternam, repetidamente, para explicar o papel epistêmico do testemunho na justificação da crença testemunhal, gerando um acirrado debate na epistemologia contemporânea. Advogada do Reducionismo local, Elizabeth Fricker refuta (...)
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  • Acting on Knowledge.Jennifer Lackey - 2010 - Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):361-382.
  • Google Morals, Virtue, and the Asymmetry of Deference.Robert J. Howell - 2014 - Noûs 48 (3):389-415.
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  • Is There a Problem With Cognitive Outsourcing?Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij - 2016 - Philosophical Issues 26 (1):7-24.
    To what extent can we rely on others for information without such reliance becoming epistemically problematic? In this paper, this question is addressed in terms of a specific form of reliance: cognitive outsourcing. Cognitive outsourcing involves handing over (outsourcing) one’s information collection and processing (the cognitive) to others. The specific question that will be asked about such outsourcing is if there is an epistemic problem about cognitive outsourcing as such. To ask if there is an epistemic problem with x for (...)
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  • I—Stating and Insinuating.Elizabeth Fricker - 2012 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1):61-94.
    An utterer may convey a message to her intended audience by means of an explicit statement; or by a non‐conventionally mediated one‐off signal from which the audience is able to work out the intended message; or by conversational implicature. I investigate whether the last two are equivalent to explicit testifying, as communicative act and epistemic source. I find that there are important differences between explicit statement and insinuation; only with the first does the utterer assume full responsibility for the truth (...)
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  • Epistemic Value.Dennis Whitcomb - 2012 - In Andrew Cullison (ed.), The Continuum Companion to Epistemology. Continuum. pp. 270-287.
    Epistemology is normative. This normativity has been widely recognized for a long time, but it has recently come into direct focus as a central topic of discussion. The result is a recent and large turn towards focusing on epistemic value. I’ll start by describing some of the history and motivations of this recent value turn. Then I’ll categorize the work within the value turn into three strands, and I’ll discuss the main writings in those strands. Finally, I’ll explore some themes (...)
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  • A Priori Testimony Revisited.Anna-Sara Malmgren - 2013 - In Albert Casullo & Joshua Thurow (eds.), The A Priori in Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
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  • Should One Trust Experts?Hein Duijf - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9289-9312.
    Should one trust experts? My answer to this question is a qualified ‘no’. In this paper I explore the conditions under which it is rational to trust and defer to experts, and those under which it may be rational to refrain from doing so. I draw on two important factors for an actor’s trust in a partner: trust depends on the partner’s competence and on the partner’s interests. I propose that the conditions under which it is rational to trust and (...)
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  • Learning From Words.Jennifer Lackey - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (1):77–101.
    There is a widely accepted family of views in the epistemology of testimony centering around the claim that belief is the central item involved in a testimonial exchange. For instance, in describing the process of learning via testimony, Elizabeth Fricker provides the following: “one language-user has a belief, which gives rise to an utterance by him; as a result of observing this utterance another user of the same language, his audience, comes to share that belief.” In a similar spirit, Alvin (...)
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  • Process Reliabilism, Virtue Reliabilism, and the Value of Knowledge.Justin P. McBrayer - 2007 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (2):289-302.
    The value problem for knowledge is the problem of explaining why knowledge is cognitively more valuable than mere true belief. If an account of the nature of knowledge is unable to solve the value problemfor knowledge, this provides a pro tanto reason to reject that account. Recent literature argues that process reliabilism is unable to solve the value problem because it succumbs to an objection known as theswamping objection. Virtue reliabilism, on the other hand, is able to solve the value (...)
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  • Testimonial Knowledge in Early Childhood, Revisited.Sanford C. Goldberg - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (1):1–36.
    Many epistemologists agree that even very young children sometimes acquire knowledge through testimony. In this paper I address two challenges facing this view. The first (building on a point made in Lackey (2005)) is the defeater challenge, which is to square the hypothesis that very young children acquire testimonial knowledge with the fact that children (whose cognitive immaturity prevents them from having or appreciating reasons) cannot be said to satisfy the No-Defeaters condition on knowledge. The second is the extension challenge, (...)
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  • Epistemology of Testimony and Values in Science.Tihamér Margitay - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1539-1553.
    The paper has two interconnected objectives. It argues that the intrinsic epistemic value of testimonies can be reduced to their moral and social values, that is, to their competent, conscientious, and honest performance. Consequently, competence, conscientiousness, and honesty are intrinsic epistemic values in science. The second objective is to offer an answer to the questions why and under what conditions a hearer can rationally accept a testimony in science. The values and subsequent norms of testimony are espoused and strictly enforced (...)
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  • Virtue signalling is virtuous.Neil Levy - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9545-9562.
    The accusation of virtue signalling is typically understood as a serious charge. Those accused usually respond by attempting to show that they are doing no such thing. In this paper, I argue that we ought to embrace the charge, rather than angrily reject it. I argue that this response can draw support from cognitive science, on the one hand, and from social epistemology on the other. I claim that we may appropriately concede that what we are doing is virtue signalling, (...)
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  • Knowledge, Belief, and Science Education.Tiago Alfredo S. Ferreira, Charbel N. El-Hani & Waldomiro José da Silva-Filho - 2016 - Science & Education 25 (7-8):775-794.
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  • A Reverse Interpretation Model of Testimony.Hamid Vahid - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (1):85-102.
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  • Hearsay Viewed Through the Lens of Trust, Reputation and Coherence.Francesco Martini - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):4083-4099.
    Hearsay or indirect testimony receives little discussion even today in epistemology, and yet it represents one of the cardinal modes for the transmission of knowledge and for human cognitive development. It suffices to think of school education whereby a student listens to teachers reporting knowledge acquired, often indirectly, from the most varied sources such as text books, newspapers, personal memory, television, etc… Or let us consider the importance of oral tradition in the social and cultural development of civilisations. Or even (...)
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  • Explanationist Aid for Phenomenal Conservatism.Kevin McCain - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):3035-3050.
    Phenomenal conservatism is a popular theory of epistemic justification. Despite its popularity and the fact that some think that phenomenal conservatism can provide a complete account of justification, it faces several challenges. Among these challenges are the need to provide accounts of defeaters and inferential justification. Fortunately, there is hope for phenomenal conservatism. Explanationism, the view on which justification is a matter of explanatory considerations, can help phenomenal conservatism with both of these challenges. The resulting view is one that respects (...)
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  • Disagreement and Religion.Matthew A. Benton - 2021 - In Matthew A. Benton & Jonathan L. Kvanvig (eds.), Religious Disagreement and Pluralism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1-40.
    This chapter covers contemporary work on disagreement, detailing both the conceptual and normative issues in play in the debates in mainstream analytic epistemology, and how these relate to religious diversity and disagreement. §1 examines several sorts of disagreement, and considers several epistemological issues: in particular, what range of attitudes a body of evidence can support, how to understand higher-order evidence, and who counts as an epistemic “peer”. §2 considers how these questions surface when considering disagreements over religion, including debates over (...)
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  • Proper Function and Defeating Experiences.Daniel M. Johnson - 2011 - Synthese 182 (3):433-447.
    Jonathan Kvanvig has argued that what he terms “doxastic” theories of epistemic justification fail to account for certain epistemic features having to do with evidence. I’m going to give an argument roughly along these lines, but I’m going to focus specifically on proper function theories of justification or warrant. In particular, I’ll focus on Michael Bergmann’s recent proper function account of justification, though the argument applies also to Alvin Plantinga’s proper function account of warrant. The epistemic features I’m concerned about (...)
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  • Internalism and Externalism in Meliorative Epistemology.Tomoji Shogenji - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (1):59-72.
    This paper addresses the meta-epistemological dispute over the basis of epistemic evaluation from the standpoint of meliorative epistemology. Meliorative epistemology aims at guiding our epistemic practice to better results, and it comprises two levels of epistemic evaluation. At the social level (meliorative social epistemology) appropriate experts conduct evaluation for the community, so that epistemic evaluation is externalist since each epistemic subject in the community need not have access to the basis of the experts' evaluation. While at the personal level (meliorative (...)
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  • Divine Self-Testimony and the Knowledge of God.Rolfe King - 2013 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 74 (3):279-295.
    A proof is offered that aims to show that there can be no knowledge of God, excluding knowledge based on natural theology, without divine self-testimony. Both special and general revelation, if they occur, would be forms of divine self-testimony. It is argued that this indicates that the best way to model such knowledge of God is on the basis of an analogy with knowledge gained through testimony, rather than perceptual models of knowledge, such as the prominent model defended by Plantinga. (...)
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  • Trust and Contextualism.Snjezana Prijic-Samarzija - 2007 - Acta Analytica 22 (2):125-138.
    The objective of this paper is to apply the general idea of contextualism, as a theory of knowledge attribution, to the very specific case of testimony and trust characterized as being the procedure of the attribution of knowledge (and sincerity) to the informant. In the first part, I argue in favor of evidentialism, a viewpoint that takes epistemically responsible trust as a matter of evidence. In the second part, I consider the question of how strong an evidential basis has to (...)
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  • Testimonial Knowledge From Lies.Kevin McCain - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (2):459-468.
    Recently, Dan O’Brien has argued that there are situations in which a hearer can gain testimonial knowledge from a speaker who is lying. In order to make his case, O’Brien presents two examples where a speaker lies to a hearer, but supposedly the hearer comes to have testimonial knowledge on the basis of the lying speaker’s testimony. O’Brien claims that his examples demonstrate that lies can be used to pass on knowledge in a non-inferential fashion. I argue that O’Brien is (...)
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  • Knowledge, Belief, and Science Education.Waldomiro Silva-Filho, Charbel El-Hani & Tiago Ferreira - 2016 - Science & Education 25 (7 - 8):775-794.
    This article intends to show that the defense of “understanding” as one of the major goals of science education can be grounded on an anti-reductionist perspective on testimony as a source of knowledge. To do so, we critically revisit the discussion between Harvey Siegel and Alvin Goldman about the goals of science education, especially where it involves arguments based on the epistemology of testimony. Subsequently, we come back to a discussion between Charbel N. El-Hani and Eduardo Mortimer, on the one (...)
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  • Why the Generality Problem is Everybody’s Problem.Michael A. Bishop - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (2):285 - 298.
    The generality problem is widely considered to be a devastating objection to reliabilist theories of justification. My goal in this paper is to argue that a version of the generality problem applies to all plausible theories of justification. Assume that any plausible theory must allow for the possibility of reflective justification—S's belief, B, is justified on the basis of S's knowledge that she arrived at B as a result of a highly (but not perfectly) reliable way of reasoning, R. The (...)
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  • Testimony and the Epistemic Uncertainty of Interpretation.Andrew Peet - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):395-416.
    In the epistemology of testimony it is often assumed that audiences are able to reliably recover asserted contents. In the philosophy of language this claim is contentious. This paper outlines one problem concerning the recovery of asserted contents, and argues that it prevents audiences from gaining testimonial knowledge in a range of cases. The recovery problem, in essence, is simply that due to the collective epistemic limitations of the speaker and audience speakers will, in certain cases, be insensitive to the (...)
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  • Editor's Introduction.Diego E. Machuca - 2013 - In D. E. Machuca (ed.), Disagreement and Skepticism. Routledge.
    In this introductory chapter, I first offer an overview of the two themes addressed in the present collection - namely, disagreement and skepticism - and their connection, then present the purpose and content of the volume.
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  • Knowledge as a Social Kind.Leandro De Brasi - 2017 - Filosofia Unisinos 18 (3):130-139.
    This paper motivates an account of knowledge as a social kind, following a cue by Edward Craig, which captures two major insights behind social and feminist epistemologies, in particular our epistemic interdependence concerning knowledge and the role of social regulative practices in understanding knowledge.
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  • Thought Styles and Paradigms—a Comparative Study of Ludwik Fleck and Thomas S. Kuhn.Nicola Mößner - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (2):362–371.
    At first glance there seem to be many similarities between Thomas S. Kuhn’s and Ludwik Fleck’s accounts of the development of scientific knowledge. Notably, both pay attention to the role played by the scientific community in the development of scientific knowledge. But putting first impressions aside, one can criticise some philosophers for being too hasty in their attempt to find supposed similarities in the works of the two men. Having acknowledged that Fleck anticipated some of Kuhn’s later theses, there seems (...)
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  • El conocimiento como una actividad colectiva.Ángeles Eraña & Axel Arturo Barceló Aspeitia - 2016 - Tópicos: Revista de Filosofía 51:9-36.
    En este ensayo exploramos una perspectiva epistemológica en la que el elemento social y colectivo del conocimiento juega un papel fundamental en la explicación de su producción y transmisión. Primero presentamos y criticamos una posición individualista que ha sido dominante en la epistemología contemporánea y cuyas raíces pueden trazarse, al menos, hasta Descartes. Posteriormente introducimos y defendemos nuestra propia mirada, una en la que el conocimiento es un proceso constituido por un conjunto de actividades y prácticas que tiene un carácter (...)
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  • Knowledge, Belief, and Science Education.Waldomiro Silva Filho, Tiago Ferreira & El-Hani Charbel - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Bioethics / Revue canadienne de bioéthique (00):1-21.
    This article intends to show that the defense of ‘‘understanding’’ as one of the major goals of science education can be grounded on an anti-reductionist perspective on testimony as a source of knowledge. To do so, we critically revisit the discussion between Harvey Siegel and Alvin Goldman about the goals of science education, especially where it involves arguments based on the epistemology of testimony. Subsequently, we come back to a discussion between Charbel N. El-Hani and Eduardo Mortimer, on the one (...)
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  • Making It Public: Testimony and Socially Sanctioned Common Grounds.Paula Olmos - 2007 - Informal Logic 27 (2):211-227.
    Contrary to current individualistic epistemology, Classical rhetoric provides us with a pragmatical and particularly dynamic conception of ‘testimony’ as a source made available for the orator by the particular community in which she acts. In order to count as usable testimony, a testimony to which one could appeal in further communications, any discourse must comply with specific rules of social sanction. A deliberate attention to the social practices in which testimony is given and assessed may offer us a more accurate (...)
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  • Educating the Design Stance: Issues of Coherence and Transgression. Commentary on Bullot & Reber.Norman H. Freeman & Melissa L. Allen - forthcoming - Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
  • Due Deference to Denialism: Explaining Ordinary People’s Rejection of Established Scientific Findings.Neil Levy - 2019 - Synthese 196 (1):313-327.
    There is a robust scientific consensus concerning climate change and evolution. But many people reject these expert views, in favour of beliefs that are strongly at variance with the evidence. It is tempting to try to explain these beliefs by reference to ignorance or irrationality, but those who reject the expert view seem often to be no worse informed or any less rational than the majority of those who accept it. It is also tempting to try to explain these beliefs (...)
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  • The Authority of Citations and Quotations in Academic Papers.Begoña Carrascal - 2014 - Informal Logic 34 (2):167-191.
    I consider some uses of citations in academic writing and analyze them as instances of the “appeal to expert opinion” argumentative scheme to show that the critical questions commonly linked to this scheme are difficult to apply. I argue that, by considering citations as special communicative and argumentative situated acts, their use in real practice can be explained more adequately. Adaptation to the audience and to the social constraints is common and necessary in order to collaborate with others and to (...)
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  • Epistemology.Matthias Steup - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? As the study of justified belief, epistemology aims to answer questions such as: How we are to understand the concept of justification? What makes justified beliefs justified? Is justification internal or external to one's own mind? (...)
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  • Socialising Epistemic Cognition.Simon Knight & Karen Littleton - forthcoming - Educational Research Review.
    We draw on recent accounts of social epistemology to present a novel account of epistemic cognition that is ‘socialised’. In developing this account we foreground the: normative and pragmatic nature of knowledge claims; functional role that ‘to know’ plays when agents say they ‘know x’; the social context in which such claims occur at a macro level, including disciplinary and cultural context; and the communicative context in which such claims occur, the ways in which individuals and small groups express and (...)
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  • Testimony and Knowing How.Katherine Hawley - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):397-404.
    Much of what we learn from talking and listening does not qualify as testimonial knowledge: we can learn a great deal from other people without simply accepting what they say as being true. In this article, I examine the ways in which we acquire skills or knowledge how from our interactions with other people, and I discuss whether there is a useful notion of testimonial knowledge how.Keywords: Knowledge how; Practical knowledge; Tacit knowledge; Testimony; Skills; Assertion.
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