Language and Mind

C. A. J. Coady

in Testimony

Published in print October 1994 | ISBN: 9780198235514
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597220 | DOI:
Language and Mind

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Develops a line of criticism deployed in the discussion of Hume's reductive approach to testimony explored in Ch. 4, and argues that understanding the speech of others presupposes a significant degree of reliance upon the correctness of their testimony. This argument has affinities with some of Wittgenstein's reflections on linguistic communication, and with Donald Davidson's ‘principle of charity’ for interpretation, but is somewhat less charitable than Davidson's and allows some space for ultimate sceptical argument about the link between ‘correct’ and true belief. The presupposition argument does not by itself support a commitment to testimonial reliability as strong as our normal cognitive practices imply, but a supplementary argument from cohesion and coherence can underpin that commitment where appropriate.

Keywords: charity; coherence; cohesion; Davidson; interpretation; McGinn; omniscience; reliability; speech; truth; Wittgenstein

Chapter.  12898 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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