I can trust you now … but not later: An explanation of testimonial knowledge in children

Acta Analytica 25 (2):195-214 (2010)
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Children learn and come to know things about the world at a very young age through the testimony of their caregivers. The challenge comes in explaining how children acquire such knowledge. Since children indiscriminately receive testimony, their testimony-based beliefs seem unreliable, and, consequently, should fail to qualify as knowledge. In this paper I discuss some attempted explanations by Sandy Goldberg and John Greco and argue that they fail. I go on to suggest that what generates the problem is a hidden assumption that the standards for testimonial knowledge are invariant between children and cognitively mature adults. I propose that in order to adequately explain how children acquire testimonial knowledge we should reject this hidden assumption. I then argue that understanding knowledge in terms of intellectual skills gives us a plausible framework to do so.



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Joshue Orozco
Whitworth College

References found in this work

Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 2002 - University Park, Pa.: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Derek R. Brookes & Knud Haakonssen.
The morality of happiness.Julia Annas - 1993 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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