Testimony and Memory

Michael Dummett

in The Seas of Language

Published in print February 1996 | ISBN: 9780198236214
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597350 | DOI:
Testimony and Memory

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Testimony should not be regarded as a source, and still less as a ground, of knowledge: it is the transmission from one individual to another of knowledge acquired by whatever means. A sceptic cannot admit memory, but not testimony, as a channel for the transmission of knowledge, for the analogy between them is too close. The idea that it is unreasonable to believe something to be so on the sole basis of having been told that it is so is as myopic as the idea that it is unreasonable to believe something to have been so on the sole basis of remembering it as having been so. Lying should be treated as an abnormal phænomenon in linguistic practice, since otherwise words could not mean what they do mean.

Keywords: Davidson knowledge; memory; testimony; truthfulness

Chapter.  10009 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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