Synthese 73 (1):43 - 85 (1987)

Authors
Frederick Schmitt
Indiana University, Bloomington
Abstract
Theories of epistemically justified belief have long assumed individualism. In its extreme, or Lockean, form individualism rules out justified belief on testimony by insisting that a subject is justified in believing a proposition only if he or she possesses first-hand justification for it. The skeptical consequences of extreme individualism have led many to adopt a milder version, attributable to Hume, on which a subject is justified in believing a proposition only if he or she is justified in believing that there is testimony in favor of the proposition deriving from a reliable source. I argue that this Humean individualism also leads to skepticism in a wide range of cases; it makes it impossible for a layperson to be justified on expert testimony. In addition, I argue that the apparent motivation for the Humean view, an insistence on intellectual autonomy in justification, does not succeed in motivating it. I then explore the contours of a collectivist view of justification on testimony, with special attention to the place of a subject's intellectual autonomy in such justification. I try to bring empirical results of the psychology of persuasion to bear on the epistemological issues.
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DOI 10.1007/BF00485442
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References found in this work BETA

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1689 - London, England: Oxford University Press.
What is Justified Belief?Alvin Goldman - 1979 - In George Pappas (ed.), Justification and Knowledge. Boston: D. Reidel. pp. 1-25.
The Modularity of Mind.Robert Cummins & Jerry Fodor - 1983 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101.

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Citations of this work BETA

Kant on Testimony.Axel Gelfert - 2006 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 (4):627 – 652.
Kant on the Ethics of Belief.Alix Cohen - 2014 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (3pt3):317-334.
Beauty and Testimony.Robert Hopkins - 2000 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 47:209-236.
Locke on Testimony: A Reexamination.Joseph Shieber - 2009 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 26 (1):21 - 41.

View all 25 citations / Add more citations

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