Testimony: A Philosophical Study

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9780198247869: Testimony: A Philosophical Study

Our trust in the word of others is often dismissed as unworthy, because the illusory ideal of "autonomous knowledge" has prevailed in the debate about the nature of knowledge. Yet we are profoundly dependent on others for a vast amount of what any of us claim to know. Coady explores the nature of testimony in order to show how it might be justified as a source of knowledge, and uses the insights that he has developed to challenge certain widespread assumptions in the areas of history, law, mathematics, and psychology.

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The role of testimony in the getting of reliable belief or knowledge is a central but neglected epistemological issue. Western philosophical tradition has paid scant attention to the individual thinker's reliance upon the word of others; yet this reliance is both extensive and often hidden from view. Professor Coady begins by exploring the nature and depth of our reliance upon testimony, addressing the complex definitional puzzles surrounding the idea. He analyses the tradition of debate on the topic in order to gain a deeper understanding of the issues and to reveal the epistemic individualism which has given rise to an illusory ideal of 'autonomous knowledge'. Avoiding such individualist commitments, he concludes this part of the book by providing a defence of testimony as a source of knowledge. In the second half of the book the author uses this new view of testimony to challenge certain widespread assumptions in the fields of history, mathematics, psychology, and law.

About the Author:

C. A. J. Coady is Boyce Gibson Professor of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne.

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 1992. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. The role of testimony in the getting of reliable belief or knowledge is a central but neglected epistemological issue. Western philosophical tradition has paid scant attention to the individual thinker s reliance upon the word of others; yet we are in fact profoundly dependent on others for a vast amount of what any of us claims to know. Professor Coady begins by exploring the nature and depth of our reliance upon testimony, addressing the complex definitional puzzles surrounding the idea. He analyses the tradition of debate on the topic in order to reveal the epistemic individualism which has given rise to an illusory ideal of autonomous knowledge , and to gain a deeper understanding of the issues. He concludes this part of the book by showing what a feasible justification of testimony as a source of knowledge could be. In the second half of the book the author uses this new view of testimony to challenge certain widespread assumptions in the fields of history, mathematics, psychology, and law. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780198247869

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