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Testimonial Pessimism

Tuesday, March 14, 2023, 3:40 pm – 5:20 pm

This colloquium talk is planned as an in-person event with the speaker joining online. Registration is only required for non-CEU members. Please check the COVID safety rules here to enter the building.



It is typically assumed that we gain a great deal of knowledge through testimony. However, an increasing number of views in philosophy of language, and even some in epistemology, appear to entail varying degrees of testimonial pessimism. Pessimistic and sceptical consequences have traditionally been seen as compelling reasons to reject the views that entail them. In this talk, I offer a framework for accommodating pessimism within a more optimistic view of the role of testimony in our epistemic ecology. I argue that a moderate degree of pessimism about testimony coheres better with several plausible theses about the nature and value of knowledge.


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