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Knowledge, Belief, and GodNew Insights in Religious Epistemology$
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Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne, and Dani Rabinowitz

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198798705

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198798705.001.0001

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Testimonial Pessimism

Testimonial Pessimism

Chapter:
(p.203) 10 Testimonial Pessimism
Source:
Knowledge, Belief, and God
Author(s):

Rachel Elizabeth Fraser

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198798705.003.0011

Recent epistemological history has inclined towards ‘testimonial optimism’, keen to stress the division of epistemic labour and how ubiquitously we depend upon the words of others. Its counterpart, ‘testimonial pessimism’, marks out a cluster of gloomier views, which stress—in different ways—testimony’s epistemic shortcomings. This chapter’s project is to establish a robust connection between pessimist readings of testimony, and two different commitments one might have in the philosophy of language: ‘emotionism’, and what the author calls ‘strong’ readings of the de re. The author does not aim to say, in this chapter, what she thinks we ought to do with these connections; that is, she aims to remain agnostic on whether we should take the connections she sketches to give us a way of vindicating pessimism, or whether they are better read as part of an error theoretic project.

Keywords:   epistemology of testimony, knowledge from testimony, philosophy of language, de re, emotionism

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