Paul Faulkner presents a new theory of testimony - the basis of much of what we know. He addresses the questions of what makes it reasonable to accept a piece of testimony, and what warrants belief formed on that basis. He rejects rival theories and argues that testimonial knowledge and testimonially warranted belief are based on trust.
A key debate in the epistemology of testimony concerns when it is reasonable to acquire belief through accepting what a speaker says. This debate has been largely understood as the debate over how much, or little, assessment and monitoring an audience must engage in. When it is understood in this way the debate simply ignores the relationship speaker and audience can have. Interlocutors rarely adopt the detached approach to communication implied by talk of assessment and monitoring. Audiences trust speakers to (...) be truthful and demonstrate certain reactive attitudes if they are not. Trust and the accompanying willingness to these reactive attitudes can then provide speakers with a reason to be trustworthy. So through ignoring interlocutors' engagement with the communicative process, the existing debate misses the possibility that it is an audience's trusting a speaker that makes it reasonable for the audience to accept what the speaker says. (shrink)
Through communication, we form beliefs about the world, its history, others and ourselves. A vast proportion of these beliefs we count as knowledge. We seem to possess this knowledge only because it has been communicated. If those justifications that depended on communication were outlawed, all that would remain would be body of illsupported prejudice. The recognition of our ineradicable dependence on testimony for much of what we take ourselves to know has suggested to many that an epistemological account of testimony (...) should be essentially similar to accounts of perception and memory. This premise I want to dispute. (shrink)
Most philosophical discussion of trust focuses on the three-place trust predicate: X trusting Y to φ. This article argues that it is the one-place and two-place predicates – X is trusting, and X trusting Y – that are fundamental.
One thing wrong with lying is that it can be manipulative. Understanding why lying can be a form of manipulation involves understanding how our telling someone something can give them a reason to believe it, and understanding this requires seeing both how our telling things can invite trust and how trust can be a reason to believe someone. This paper aims to outline the mechanism by means of which lies can be manipulative and through doing so identify a unique reason (...) for accepting testimony; a reason based on trusting a speaker’s telling. (shrink)
In trusting a speaker we adopt a credulous attitude, and this attitude is basic: it cannot be reduced to the belief that the speaker is trustworthy or reliable. However, like this belief, the attitude of trust provides a reason for accepting what a speaker says. Similarly, this reason can be good or bad; it is likewise epistemically evaluable. This paper aims to present these claims and offer a genealogical justification of them.
Most action can be explained in Humean or teleological terms; that is, in most cases, one can explain why someone acted by reference to that person’s beliefs and desires. However, trusting and being trustworthy are actions that do not permit such explanation. The action of trusting someone to do something is a matter of expecting someone to act for certain reasons, and acting trustworthily is one of acting for these reasons. It is better to say that people act out of (...) trust, rather than for some end. Thus, teleological considerations do not suffice to trust. This is the negative claim of the paper. Its positive proposal is an account of the practical rationality of trust. The key idea is that in trusting one takes on commitments, not merely to act in certain way, but also to premise one’s practical reasoning on a trust-based view of the interaction situation. (shrink)
Moral obligation, Darwall argues, is irreducibly second personal. So too, McMyler argues, is the reason for belief supplied by testimony and which supports trust. In this paper, I follow Darwall in arguing that the testimony is not second personal ?all the way down?. However, I go on to argue, this shows that trust is not fully second personal, which in turn shows that moral obligation is equally not second personal ?all the way down?
The assumption that we largely lack reasons for accepting testimony has dominated its epistemology. Given the further assumption that whatever reasons we do have are insufficient to justify our testimonial beliefs, many conclude that any account of testimonial knowledge must allow credulity to be justified. In this paper I argue that both of these assumptions are false. Our responses to testimony are guided by our background beliefs as to the testimony as a type, the testimonial situation, the testifier's character and (...) the truth of the proposition testified to. These beliefs provide reasons for our responses. Thus, we usually do have reasons, in the sense of propositions believed, for accepting testimony and these reasons can provide evidence for the testimonial beliefs we form. (shrink)
Should we tell other people the truth? Should we believe what other people tell us? This paper argues that something like these norms of truth-telling and belief govern our production and receipt of testimony in conversational contexts. It then attempts to articulate these norms and determine their justification. More fully specified these norms prescribe that speakers tell the truth informatively, or be trustworthy, and that audiences presume that speakers do this, or trust. These norms of trust, as norms of conversational (...) cooperation, would then seem to be justified on the basis of the interest that each has in the cooperative outcome. The norms of trust would then be justified as Lewisian conventions. Howver, the joint outcome prescribed by these norms is not a equilibrium point: a speaker always does better to have an audience’s trust and the liberty to tell the truth or not as it suits. In this way, testimony presents a problem of trust. The justification of these norms of trust then starts from the recognition that any society that did not resolve this problem of trust would be stymied as a society. The resolution of this problem then requires securing the motivations characteristic of trusting and being trustworthy, where to have these motivations is to have an ethical outlook defined in terms of internalising these norms of trust. This justification genealogical and it is one of value. (shrink)
David Hume advances a reductionist epistemology of testimony: testimonial beliefs are justified on the basis of beliefs formed from other sources. This reduction, however, has been misunderstood. Testimonial beliefs are not justified in a manner identical to ordinary empirical beliefs; it is true, they are justified by observation of the conjunction between testimony and its truth, it is the nature of the conjunctions that has been misunderstood. The observation of these conjunctions provides us with our knowledge of human nature and (...) it is this knowledge which justifies our testimonial beliefs. Hume gives a naturalistic rather than sceptical account of testimony. (shrink)
Testimony is a source of knowledge. On many occasions, the explanation of one’s knowing that p is that a speaker, S, told one that p. Our testimonial sources—the referents of ‘S’—can be other individuals, and they can be collectives; that is, in addition to learning from individuals, we learn things from committees, commissions, councils, clubs, teams, research groups, departments, administrations, churches, states and other social groups. North Korea might make a declaration about its missile programme, the church about the ordination (...) of women priests, the council about its deficit, the research group about its findings, and so on. We will look at a few examples in detail shortly, but the starting point is that social groups can be a source of testimony, and we can learn things from such collective testimony. The question this paper pursues is, what explains our learning that p from collective testimony to p? (shrink)
This paper aims to outline, evaluate, and ultimately reject a virtue epistemic theory of testimony before proposing a virtue ethical theory. Trust and trustworthiness, it is proposed, are ethical virtues; and from these ethical virtues, epistemic consequences follow.
The emergence of a new tissue economy raises issues for the governance of risk and concepts of the body and self. This article explores the development of autologous cell therapies as a form of tissue engineering and considers how and why autologous applications are seen as less risky and more socially and politically acceptable. In a careful analysis of contemporary debates around the need for new international policies to regulate these technologies, we critically assess the discursive strategies employed to support (...) ideas of the body as a natural entity. Central to these debates are assumptions that autologous applications do not threaten the moral or corporeal integrity of the individual and that they are ‘an ethics-free zone’. Analysis reveals that concepts such as intercorporeality need to be refined if they are to assist our understanding of these cell-based therapies. We consider the biopolitics of Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation in order to show the linkages between the culturing of cells, regulation and the reproduction of the self. (shrink)
We must allow that knowledge can be transmitted. But to allow this is to allow that an individual can know a proposition despite lacking any evidence for it and reaching belief by an unreliable means. So some explanation is required as to how knowledge rather than belief is transmitted. This paper considers two non-individualistic explanations: one in terms of knowledge existing autonomously, the other in terms of it existing as a property of communities. And it attempts to decide what is (...) at issue between these explanations. (shrink)
This article reviews empirical and conceptual material from two distinct research traditions: on the science-technology relation and on industrial innovation. It aims both to shed new light on an old debate—the distinction between scientific and technological knowledge—and to refine our conceptualizations of the knowledge used by companies in the course of research and development leading to innovation. On the basis of three empirical studies, a composite categorization of different types of knowledge used in innovation is proposed, as part of a (...) broader framework encompassing two further taxonomic dimensions. It is hoped that this typology and framework might provide useful research tools in furthering our understanding of the knowledge transfers and transformations that occur in the course of innovation. It could also prove useful for organizations and groups facing difficult strategic choices about technology. (shrink)
The paper addresses the question of adaptation of existing regulatory frameworks in the face of innovation in biotechnologies, and specifically the roles played in this by various expert knowledge practices. We identify two overlapping ideal types of adaptation: first, the stretching and maintenance of a pre-existing legal framework, and second, a breaking of existing classifications and establishment of a novel regime. We approach this issue by focusing on varieties of regulatory knowledge which, contributing to and parting of political legitimacy, in (...) principle enable the making of legally binding decisions about risks and benefits of technologies. We base the discussion around two case studies, one of animal biotechnology ethical regulation, the other of ‘advanced therapy’ medicinal product regulation, both in the context of European Union frameworks. Specifically, we explore the knowledge configurations constituting expert committees and other institutional formations of expert regulatory knowledge in their political context. We show that where sectoral and moral boundaries are challenged, different modes of regulatory knowledge beyond scientific forms – legal, procedural, moral, economic and industrial – can shape regulatory innovations either by maintenance of regimes through commensuration and stretching, or through differentiation and separation creating new frameworks. We conclude that establishing an essential techno-scientific difference between pre-existing and novel technologies does not in itself require new regulatory structures, and that the regulatory strategy that is followed will be determined by a combination of different forms of knowledge. (shrink)
With his concept of ‘potentiality,’ Agamben offers a promising means of approaching questions of power and agency. Yet arguably, by situating potentiality as a reserve created through the sovereign ban, Agamben neglects the inter-subjective context of ordinary everyday agency. This means that while Agamben’s theory is particularly well suited to the analysis of interactions between states and their citizens, and those excluded from citizenship, it provides poor tools for understanding how social disparity develops within communities, understood as networks of individuals (...) of varying capacities and ways of being. By revisiting Aristotle’s discussion of potentiality from which Agamben’s concept is drawn, the essay develops from potentiality ways of thinking about agency. The essay focuses upon a class of individual who are increasingly seen to embody the political community’s potentiality, to the extent that their ability to exercise agency is reduced: that is, the ‘innocent child’—glossed at once as humanity’s future and best hope, and as its most vulnerable and unrealised quotient. While human potentiality is thought only in terms of childhood innocence, not only will these individuals’ agency be stymied, but citizens will also continue to separate themselves from their own unrealised potentials and frailties. (shrink)
Faced with evidence that what a person said is false, we can nevertheless trust them and so believe what they say – choosing to give them the benefit of the doubt. This is particularly notable when the person is a friend, or someone we are close to. Towards such persons, we demonstrate a remarkable epistemic partiality. We can trust, and so believe, our friends even when the balance of the evidence suggests that what they tell us is false. And insofar (...) as belief is possible, it is also possible to acquire testimonial knowledge on those occasions when the friends know what they tell us. This paper seeks to explain these psychological and epistemological possibilities. (shrink)
A key element of the distinction between explicit and implicit cognitive functioning is the presence or absence of conscious awareness. In this review, we consider the proposal that neuropsychological disorders can best be considered in terms of a decoupling between preserved implicit or unconscious processing and impaired explicit or conscious processing. Evidence for dissociations between implicit and explicit processes in blindsight, amnesia, object agnosia, prosopagnosia, hemi-neglect, and aphasia is examined. The implications of these findings for a) our understanding of a (...) variety of neuropsychological disorders, b) the conceptualization of normal cognitive functioning, c) the neural basis of consciousness, and d) the clinical rehabilitation of brain-injured individuals are also discussed. (shrink)
While ethics and justice are domains that concern the human, this paper argues that these spheres are organized and given meaning in terms of what lies at the limits of the human subject: children and non-human animals. In this respect, the orientation to ethical life takes the form of a disavowal: in the attempt to negotiate human vulnerability, a subjectivity that defines itself in terms of the control of nature displaces its fragility onto children and animals. In the face of (...) environmental catastrophe – and the threats to human security that accompany it – there is a shared sense of the tenuousness of life. An opportunity to comprehend this tenuousness is missed, however, to the extent that both children and animals are romanticized as “innocent”: ethically pure because morally and politically incapable. Because of their exclusion from the sphere of moral action, children and non-human animals have come to represent human vulnerability in general: a vulnerability associated with passivity, and a lack of precisely the control that has produced the problems we now face. This paper argues for a reconsideration of the passivity and vulnerability that lies at the “limits of being human” as the site of ethical and political change. The philosophy of Giorgio Agamben is deployed to think through the caesura between human and non-human animality, and the “passivity” or impotentiality that enables the ethical. Jacques Rancière is also drawn upon to consider the failure to recognize children and animals as political actors. (shrink)
'The book is clearly written and makes available a wide range of issues concerning the style of Bacon's writings and his politics. Highly recommended to both general and academic libraries at all levels.'-CHOICE.
This paper argues that the figure of the child performs a critical function for the middle-class social imaginary, representing both an essential “innocence” of the liberal individual, and an excluded, unconscious remainder of its project of control through the management of knowledge. While childhood is invested with affect and value, children’s agency and opportunities for social participation are restricted insofar as they are seen both to represent an elementary humanity and to fall short of full rationality, citizenship and identity. The (...) diverse permutations of this figure, as it develops in the middle-class imagination, are traced from the writings of John Locke to the films of Michael Haneke (via Charles Dickens and Henry James), to interrogate what this ambivalence regarding childhood reflects about middle-class, adult identity. (shrink)
This article seeks to open up a new avenue for feminist technology studies—gender-aware research on engineers and engineering practice—on the grounds that engineers are powerful symbols of the equation between masculinity and technology and occupy significant roles in shaping new technologies. Drawing on the disparate evidence available, the author explores four themes. The first asks why the equation between masculinity and technology is so durable when there are such huge mismatches between image and practice. The second examines this mismatch in (...) the detail of engineering knowledge and practice to reveal that fractured and contradictory constructions of masculinity frequently coexist. The third theme addresses the suggestion that women and men might bring different styles to engineering. Finally, the author explores subjective experiences of engineering to argue that engineers’ shared pleasures in and identification with technology both define what it means to be an engineer and provide appealing symbols of power that act to compensate for a perceived lack of power or competence in other arenas. (shrink)
We enjoy first-person authority with respect to a certain class of actions: for these actions, we know what we are doing just because we are doing it. This paper first formulates an epistemological principle that captures this authority in terms of trying to act in a way that one has the capacity to act. It then considers a case of effortful action – running a middle distance race – that threatens this principle. And proposes the solution of changing the metaphysics (...) of action: one can keep hold of the idea that we have first-person authority over what we are doing by adopting a disjunctive account of action. (shrink)
In this paper I explore a neglected discussion of vagueness put forward by Wittgenstein in his Philosophical Grammar (1932–34). In this work, unlike Philosophical Investigations (1953), Wittgenstein not only discusses the venerable Sorites paradox but provides a novel conception of vagueness using an analogy with coin tossing and converging intervals. As he sees it, the problematic picture of vagueness arises because we conflate aspects of the functioning of vague concepts with those of non-vague ones. Thus, while we accept that vague (...) concepts have no sharp cut-off points (are boundaryless), we nevertheless retain the idea that we can progress towards the penumbra the way we progress towards the cut-off points of non-vague concepts. As a potential remedy, Wittgenstein's analogy with coin tossing and converging intervals replaces this picture and provides an understanding of the functioning of vague concepts in which no notion of a progression arises. (shrink)
The use of platelet rich plasma as a novel treatment is discussed in the context of a qualitative research study comprising 38 interviews with sports medicine practitioners and other stakeholders working within the English Premier League during the 2013–16 seasons. Analysis of the data produced several overarching themes: conservatism versus experimentalism in medical attitudes; therapy perspectives divergence; conflicting versions of appropriate evidence; subcultures; community beliefs/practices; and negotiation of medical decision-making. The contested evidence base for the efficacy of PRP is presented (...) in the context of a broader professional shift towards evidence based medicine within sports medicine. Many of the participants while accepting this shift are still committed to casuistic practices where clinical judgment is flexible and does not recognize a context-free hierarchy of evidentiary standards to ethically justifiable practice. We also discuss a tendency in the data collected to consider the use of deceptive, placebo-like, practices among the clinician participants that challenge dominant understandings of informed consent in medical ethics. We conclude that the complex relation between evidence and ethics requires greater critical scrutiny for this emerging specialism within the medical community. (shrink)
"Understanding Psychoanalysis" presents a broad introduction to the key concepts and developments in psychoanalysis and its impact on modern thought. Charting pivotal moments in the theorization and reception of psychoanalysis, the book provides a comprehensive account of the concerns and development of Freud's work, as well as his most prominent successors, Melanie Klein and Jacques Lacan.The work of these leading psychoanalytic theorists has greatly influenced thinking across other disciplines, notably feminism, film studies, poststructuralism, social and cultural theory, the philosophy of (...) science and the emerging discipline of neuropsychoanalysis. Analysing this engagement with other disciplines and their key theorists, "Understanding Psychoanalysis" argues for a reconsideration of psychoanalysis as a resource for philosophy, science, and cultural studies. (shrink)
Social epistemology should be truth-centred, argues Goldman. Social epistemology should capture the ‘logic of everyday practices’ and describe socially ‘situated’ reasoning, says Fuller. Starting from Goldman’s vision of epistemology, this paper aims to argue for Fuller’s contention. Social epistemology cannot focus solely on the truth because the truth can be got in lucky ways. The same too could be said for reliability. Adding a second layer of epistemic evaluation helps only insofar as the reasons thus specified are appropriately connected to (...) reliability. These claims are first made in abstract, and then developed with regard to our practice of trusting testimony, where an epistemological investigation into the grounds of reliability must inevitably detail the ‘logic of everyday practices’. (shrink)
As sources of knowledge, perception and testimony are both vulnerable to sceptical arguments. To both arguments a Moorean response is possible: both can be refuted by reference to particular things known by perception and testimony. However, lies and dreams are different possibilities and they are different in a way that undercuts the plausibility of a Moorean response to a scepticism of testimony. The condition placed on testimonial knowledge cannot be trivially satisfied in the way the Moorean would suggest. This has (...) substantial implications for any non-sceptical epistemological theory of testimony. (shrink)
We depend upon the community for justified belief in scientific theory. This dependence can suggest that our individual belief in scientific theory is justified because the community believes it to be justified. This idea is at the heart of an anti-realist epistemology according to which there are no facts about justification that transcend a community's judgement thereof. Ultimately, knowledge and justified belief are simply social statuses. When conjoined with the lemma that communities can differ in what they accept as justified, (...) epistemological anti-realism entails epistemological relativism. Further, this lemma can also be used to generate an argument for relativism and, thereby, for anti-realism. So if an epistemologically realist account of our justification for belief in scientific theory is to be given, then it must be possible, first, to defend a realist interpretation of the idea that individual belief can be community-justified and second, to defend it in a way that is compatible with the fact of possible community diversity. This paper tries to meet these challenges. (shrink)