Knowledge from Testimony: Benefits and Dangers
Version of Record online: 24 MAY 2013
© 2013 The Author. Journal of Philosophy of Education © 2013 Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain.
Journal of Philosophy of Education
Volume 47, Issue 3, pages 323–340, August 2013
How to Cite
Moran, S. (2013), Knowledge from Testimony: Benefits and Dangers. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 47: 323–340. doi: 10.1111/1467-9752.12001
- Issue online: 10 SEP 2013
- Version of Record online: 24 MAY 2013
Testimony is an important source of knowledge in many contexts, including that of education, but the notion of the teacher as testifier is not often discussed. Since much that is believed by individuals has come to them not from direct experience but by accepting the accounts of others, the trustworthiness of their interlocutors' testimonies, whether these be spoken, textual or electronic in form, is an important factor in determining whether or not they acquire true, justified beliefs. Testimonial trustworthiness is a combination of competence and sincerity, both of which tend to be high when a teacher testifies in her area of expertise. But in the world beyond the classroom there are situations in which the competence or sincerity of the testifier is low, so it is important that the learner acquires an epistemically-virtuous, well-attuned disposition towards testimony.