Kennis op basis Van ervaring en kennis op basis Van getuigenis

Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 59 (3):407 - 433 (1997)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The thesis developed and defended in this paper is that is it false that all knowledge is founded on experience. Much of our knowledge (or alleged knowledge), it is argued, is based on testimony. Still, many philosophers have either not dealt with testimony at all, or treated it very unkindly. One of the reasons for this is that those philosophers (such as Descartes and Locke) work with a concept of knowledge according to which knowledge is certain, indubitable, and/or self-evident. And if knowledge is what these philosophers say it is, then there is no such thing as knowledge based on testimony indeed. Thomas Reid is introduced as holding that we do have testimonial knowledge and that therefore Descartes' and Locke's concept of knowledge is untenable. Reid furthermore holds that human beings are endowed with a disposition to accept or believe what otherstell us („the principle of credulity”). The working of this principle is refined through all kinds of experience. What Reid says or shows is how this disposition in fact operates. Many epistemologists, however, have higher aspirations and look for reasons or arguments that can justify our factual acceptance of testimony. The inductive argument Hume offers, it is argued, is unconvincing. There is even reason to think that the principle of credulity can never be justified by adducing reasons. This does not imply, however, that acceptance of testimony is unjustified. Whether or not it is depends, among other things, on the concept of justification one uses. On an internalist concept of justification (as Locke's or Hume's) this disposition may never be justified. But on an externalist conception it may. This may be disappointing, given some widely held philosophical aspirations, but at the same time it is, as Alston has said, a lesson in intellectual humility



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 77,805

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Testimony as a Social Foundation of Knowledge.Robert Audi - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):507-531.
Kant on testimony.Axel Gelfert - 2006 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 14 (4):627 – 652.
Aesthetic testimony: What can we learn from others about beauty and art?Aaron Meskin - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (1):65–91.
Conhecimento testemunhal – A visão não reducionista.Felipe de Mattos Müller - 2010 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 55 (2):126-143.
Knowledge on Trust.Paul Faulkner - 2011 - New York: Oxford University Press.
David Hume's reductionist epistemology of testimony.Paul Faulkner - 1998 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 79 (4):302–313.
George Campbell's Critique of Hume on Testimony.Tony Pitson - 2006 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 4 (1):1-15.
Testimony, knowledge, and epistemic goals.Steven L. Reynolds - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 110 (2):139 - 161.
Testimony, testimonial belief, and safety.Charlie Pelling - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):205-217.
Hume on testimony revisited.Axel Gelfert - 2010 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 13:60-75.


Added to PP

22 (#528,224)

6 months
5 (#167,582)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

René Van Woudenberg
VU University Amsterdam

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references