Erkenntnis 86 (6):1345-1365 (2021)

Federica Isabella Malfatti
University of Innsbruck
Testimony spreads information. It is also commonly agreed that it can transfer knowledge. Whether it can work as an epistemic source of understanding is a matter of dispute. However, testimony certainly plays a pivotal role in the proliferation of understanding in the epistemic community. But how exactly do we learn, and how do we make advancements in understanding on the basis of one another’s words? And what can we do to maximize the probability that the process of acquiring understanding from one another succeeds? These are very important questions in our current epistemological landscape, especially in light of the attention that has been paid to understanding as an epistemic achievement of purely epistemic value. Somewhat surprisingly, the recent literature in social epistemology does not offer much on the topic. The overarching aim of this paper is to provide a tentative model of understanding that goes in-depth enough to safely address the question of how understanding and testimony are related to one another. The hope is to contribute, in some measure, to the effort to understand understanding, and to explain two facts about our epistemic practices: the fact that knowledge and understanding relate differently to testimony, and the fact that some pieces of testimonial information are better than others for the sake of providing one with understanding and of yielding advancements in one’s epistemic standing.
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-019-00157-8
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References found in this work BETA

Knowing How.Jason Stanley & Timothy Willlamson - 2001 - Journal of Philosophy 98 (8):411-444.
Understanding Why.Alison Hills - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):661-688.
True Enough.Catherine Z. Elgin - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):113–131.

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Citations of this work BETA

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