White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

The Nature of Testimonial Justification

Wright, Stephen (2014) The Nature of Testimonial Justification. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

Download (623Kb) | Preview


It's generally agreed that testimony can be a source of knowledge and justified belief. The epistemology of testimony concerns itself with explaining how this can be the case. This thesis begins by identifying three types of explanation. According to the first explanation, my testimony can induce a justified belief in you because you use the reasons that you have available to you to infer the truth of what I say from the fact that I said it. According to the second explanation, my testimony can induce a justified belief in you because the processes involved in you forming the belief on the basis of my testimony are suitably reliable. And according to the third explanation, my testimony can induce a justified belief in you because I have justification for what I say and my testimony allows you to form a belief that's supported by this justification. Having identified three different types of explanation, I argue that neither the first nor the second type of explanation can give a full account of testimony as a source of justified belief. The idea is that a notion of justification transmission is indispensable to a complete epistemology of testimony. I begin by establishing what justification transmission amounts to (and what it doesn't amount to) and defend the idea from its various critics. Next I turn to consider the first explanation and offer an example that illustrates why it can't give a complete account of justification from testimony by itself. Lastly, I discuss the third explanation and argue that it too fails to provide a satisfying framework for understanding how testimony is a source of justified belief.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Justification; Testimony; Epistemology
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Philosophy (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.631427
Depositing User: Dr Stephen Wright
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2014 14:22
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 11:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7306

You do not need to contact us to get a copy of this thesis. Please use the 'Download' link(s) above to get a copy.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)