Trust and the Institution of Testimony

Paul Faulkner

in Knowledge on Trust

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199589784
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725517 | DOI:
Trust and the Institution of Testimony

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It is possible to treat a single piece of testimony both as offering a speaker’s assurance and as providing a bit of evidence. This chapter considers how this is possible through an examination of Bernard Williams’s genealogical explanation of our valuing the disposition of Sincerity. This genealogy fails as it stands, but it can be represented as a genealogy of testimony as a source of knowledge. Its being so can then explain how testimony is the source of knowledge that it is, namely one that can provide assurance and yet be treated as evidence. Central to this explanation is the idea that there are certain norms of trust and trustworthiness operative in society that interlocutors have internalized. This provides a solution to the problem of cooperation.

Keywords: testimony; epistemology; knowledge; warrant; Bernard Williams; norms; trust; trustworthiness; genealogy

Chapter.  12392 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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