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Volume 49 • Number 1

January 2012



Recent Work on Testimonial Knowledge

by John Greco

Recent interest in the epistemology of testimony can be traced to C. A. J. Coady's Testimony: A Philosophical Study (1992) and then a collection of papers edited by Bimal Krishna Matilal and Arindam Chakrabarti, Knowing from Words (1994). These two volumes framed several issues in the epistemology of testimony and largely set the agenda for work in that area over the next two decades.

One major issue in this literature is whether testimonial knowledge can be "reduced" to some other kind of knowledge: Is testimonial knowledge sui generis, requiring its own distinctive treatment, or is testimonial knowledge merely an instance of, for example, inductive knowledge, requiring no special epistemology over and above that required for inductive knowledge in general? One way that testimonial knowledge might be special is that it involves social elements that make it distinctive. This possibility raises further issues that have been prominent in the literature: In what ways is testimonial knowledge a social phenomenon, and what are the consequences of this for the epistemology of testimony and for epistemology more generally?

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ISSN: 2152-1123