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Conspiracies And Lyes: Scepticism And The Epistemology of Testimony

Citation: Faulkner, Paul (2008) Conspiracies And Lyes: Scepticism And The Epistemology of Testimony. ["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined] thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

In Conspiracies and Lyes I aim to provide an epistemological account of testimony as one of our faculties of knowledge. I compare testimony to perception and memory. Its similarity to both these faculties is recognised. A fundamental difference is stressed: it can be rational to not accept testimony even if testimony is fulfilling its proper epistemic function because it can be rational for a speaker to not express a belief; or, as I say, it can be rational for a speaker to lye. This difference in epistemic function provides the basis for a sceptical argument against testimony. Scepticism is presented as a method rather than a problem: considering how to refute the sceptical argument is taken to be a means of evaluating theories as to how testimonial beliefs are warranted. I consider two strategies for refuting scepticism and, correlatively, two accounts of how testimonial beliefs are warranted. I show these accounts to be neutral across all theories of justification that entertain the project of investigating our faculties of knowledge. A reductionist account explains the warrant supporting our testimonial beliefs in terms of our inductive ground for accepting testimony. An anti-reductionist account explains the warrant supporting our testimonial beliefs in terms of our possessing an entitlement to accept testimony. I show how both positions can be intuitively motivated. In presenting reductionism I appeal to probability theory, empirical psychology and invoke David Hume. In presenting anti-reductionism I invoke John McDowell and Tyler Burge. A refutation of scepticism is provided by a hybrid of reductionism and anti-reductionism. The hybrid is conceived as part social externalism and part individual internalism. In developing this account I provide a means of conceptualising the dynamic that exists between individual knowers and communities of knowledge.

Creators: Faulkner, Paul and
Subjects: Philosophy
Keywords: Epistemology, Testimony, Perception, Memory, Rationality, Scepticism, Warrant, Justification, Probability Theory, Empirical Psychology, Hume, McDowell, Burge, Social Externalism, Individual Internalism, Conspiracies, Lyes
Divisions: Institute of Philosophy
Collections: Thesis
London Philosophy PhD Theses
Dates:
  • 8 January 2008 (published)
Comments and Suggestions:
Description/Provenance: Submitted by Sophie Archer (sophie.archer@sas.ac.uk) on 2008-01-08T13:29:35Z No. of bitstreams: 1 Paul Faulkner PhD Thesis.pdf: 643282 bytes, checksum: d41f90f5953f85923c090b5d40746931 (MD5); Description/Provenance: Made available in DSpace on 2008-01-08T13:29:35Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 Paul Faulkner PhD Thesis.pdf: 643282 bytes, checksum: d41f90f5953f85923c090b5d40746931 (MD5). Date accessioned: 2008-01-08T13:29:35Z; Date available: 2008-01-08T13:29:35Z; Date issued: 2008-01-08T13:29:35Z.

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