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David Hume's Reductionist Epistemology of Testimony\ud

By P. Faulkner

Abstract

David Hume advances a reductionist epistemology of testimony: testimonial beliefs are justified on the basis of beliefs formed from other sources. This reduction, however, has been misunderstood. Testimonial beliefs are not justified in a manner identical to ordinary empirical beliefs; it is true, they are justified by observation of the conjunction between testimony and its truth, but the nature of the conjunctions has been misunderstood. The observation of these conjunctions provides us with our knowledge of human nature and it is this knowledge which justifies our testimonial beliefs. Hume gives a naturalistic rather than a sceptical account of testimony.\u

Year: 1998
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:739

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