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The Epistemology of Testimony$
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Jennifer Lackey and Ernest Sosa

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276011

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276011.001.0001

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Testimony and Trustworthiness

Testimony and Trustworthiness

(p.145) 7 Testimony and Trustworthiness
The Epistemology of Testimony

Keith Lehrer

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the relationship between testimony, trustworthiness, and reliability. Simply believing the testimony of another, as Reid notes, is a natural inclination. However, a person must evaluate the trustworthiness of others in order to evaluate their testimony and decide whether one is justified in accepting it. Without such evaluation, testimony fails to convert to knowledge. However, there is a problem about the evaluation of trustworthiness of others. Such evaluation depends on accepting that one is trustworthy in evaluating others. But one's evaluation of the trustworthiness of oneself is conditioned on the testimony of others concerning one's very trustworthiness. The way out of the difficulty is to see, contrary to Schmitt's interpretation of Lehrer, that trustworthiness does not entail reliability, and to appreciate the virtue of an explanatory loop of trustworthiness in justification and knowledge.

Keywords:   justification, knowledge, Lehrer, Reid, reliability, Schmitt, trustworthiness

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