Is Testimonial Knowledge Second-Hand Knowledge?

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Fricker (2006a) has proposed that a hearer’s knowledge that p acquired through trusting a speaker requires the speaker to know that p, and that therefore testimonial knowledge through trust is necessarily second-hand knowledge. In this paper, I argue that Fricker’s view is problematic for four reasons: firstly, Fricker’s dismissal of a central challenge to the second-handedness of testimonial knowledge is based on a significant misrepresentation of this challenge; secondly, on closer scrutiny an important distinction Fricker wants to draw is compromised by her account of trust; thirdly, Fricker’s conception of trust is at odds with our natural understanding of this notion; fourthly, the reasons Fricker cites in support of her view are not sufficient to single out her view as the correct one, since rival views can also accommodate the relevant data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-918
Number of pages20
Issue number4
Early online date30 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

For helpful discussion on the themes of this paper, I am grateful to Tim Button, Branden Fitelson, Lauren Garrett, Peter Hartl, Giacomo Melis, Ulrich Stegmann, Paula Sweeney, Stephan Torre, Matthew Townsend, Elia Zardini, and to participants of the Knowledge from Non-Knowledge Symposium at the University of Cambridge and of the Basic Knowledge Workshop X at the Northern Institute of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen.


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