Testimonial contractarianism: a knowledge-first social epistemology

Simion, M. (2021) Testimonial contractarianism: a knowledge-first social epistemology. Noûs, 55(4), pp. 891-916. (doi: 10.1111/nous.12337)

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Abstract

According to anti‐reductionism in the epistemology of testimony, testimonial entitlement is easy to come by: all you need to do is listen to what you are being told. Say you like anti‐reductionism; one question that you will need to answer is how come testimonial entitlement comes so cheap; after all, people are free to lie. This paper has two aims: first, it looks at the main anti‐reductionist answers to this question and argues that they remain unsatisfactory. Second, it goes on a rescue mission on behalf of anti‐reductionism. I put forth a novel, knowledge‐first anti‐reductionist account, which I dub ‘Testimonial Contractarianism’. According to the view defended here, in virtue of the social contract in play, compliance with the norms governing speech acts is the default position for speakers. Insofar as norm compliance is the default for speakers, I argue, all else equal, entitlement to believe is the default for hearers.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Simion, Professor Mona
Authors: Simion, M.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Noûs
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0029-4624
ISSN (Online):1468-0068
Published Online:05 June 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Noûs 55(4): 891-916
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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