Take my word for it : a new approach to the problem of sincerity in the epistemology of testimony.

Dewhurst , Therese (2010) Take my word for it : a new approach to the problem of sincerity in the epistemology of testimony. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




The epistemological problem of sincerity in testimony is often approached in the following way: We, as a matter of fact, accept utterances as sincere. We do so in the face of knowledge that people lie and deceive,and yet we still count these beliefs as good beliefs. Therefore there must be some reason or argument that we can cite in order to justify our acceptance of the sincerity of the speaker. In this thesis I will argue, contra this, that there is no reason, per se, that justifies our of a speakers sincerity: this is because recognition of the obligation to accept the sincerity is a necessary condition on the possibility of communication and interpretation. In the first three of the thesis I will argue against three of the main approaches to the problem by focusing on what I believe to be the strongest accounts of each: Elizabeth Fricker's reductionism, Tyler Burge's non-reductionism, and Paul Faulkner's trust account of testimony. In the final chapter I will put forward my positive account. I will argue that it is a constitutive rule of language that a speaker be sincere, and then make the further claim, that it is a constitutive rule of interpretation that the hearer take an utterance as sincere. On my account, successful communication does not just depend on a speaker making sincere utterances,but just as importantly,, on the hearer recognising an obligation to take those utterances as being sincere.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sincerity, Philosophy, Terminology, Theory of knowlege, Honesty
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy
ID Code:2164
Deposited By: Madireng Monyela
Deposited On:07 Nov 2011 09:35
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:22
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