Chapter

THE GLOBAL JUSTIFICATION OF TESTIMONY

Martin Kusch

in Knowledge by Agreement

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251223
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601767 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199251223.003.0005
THE GLOBAL JUSTIFICATION OF TESTIMONY

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Focusses on reductionist and fundamentalist proposals for a global justification of testimony. David Hume (on miracles) is discussed as offering a reductionist proposal according to which testimony can only be justified by reducing it to other sources of knowledge (perception, reasoning, memory). It is shown (following Coady) that Hume's argument involves highly questionable assumptions; e.g. the assumption that all testimony could have turned out to be false. Subsequently, the chapter turns against Coady's fundamentalism. Coady's position draws on Donald Davidson's well‐known argument to the effect that most of our beliefs have to true. Criticises Coady's and Davidson's proposals. Concludes with the suggestion that a communitarian epistemology of testimony should be quietist with the respect to the question ‘why should I trust the words of others?’coherentism

Keywords: foundationalism; fundamentalism; global justification of testimony; interpretation; Principle of Charity; reductionism

Chapter.  5930 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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