Trust and Assurance: The Interpersonal View of Testimony

Jennifer Lackey

in Learning from Words

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780199219162
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191711824 | DOI:
Trust and Assurance: The Interpersonal View of Testimony

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This chapter focuses on a family of theories that has emerged in recent work in the epistemology of testimony whose members are united in their commitment to three theses. First, the interpersonal relationship between the two parties in a testimonial exchange should be the central focus of the epistemology of testimony. Second, certain features of this interpersonal relationship — such as the speaker offering her assurance to the hearer that her testimony is true — are actually responsible for conferring epistemic value on the testimonial beliefs acquired. Third, the epistemic justification or warrant provided by testimony is non-evidential in nature. It is argued that proponents of this Interpersonal View of Testimony face a dilemma: either the view of testimony in question is genuinely interpersonal but not properly epistemological, or it is properly epistemological but not genuinely interpersonal. Either way, such a view fails to provide a compelling alternative to existing theories in the epistemology of testimony.

Keywords: assurance; epistemology; evidence; interpersonal; justification; testimony; warrant

Chapter.  12934 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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