Testimony: A Philosophical Study / Edition 1

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Our trust in the word of others is often dismissed as unworthy, because the illusory ideal of "autonomous knowledge" has prevailed in the debate about the nature of knowledge. Yet we are profoundly dependent on others for a vast amount of what any of us claim to know. Coady explores the nature of testimony in order to show how it might be justified as a source of knowledge, and uses the insights that he has developed to challenge certain widespread assumptions in the areas of history, law, mathematics, and psychology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An important event in philosophy....Coady's work should change the way we think about the nature and scope of human knowledge....Coady has his answers to the standard problems. Read the book and judge it for yourselves....Excellent."—London Review of Books

"In Testimony, Coady takes up the views of Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, Locke, Hume, Reid, Russell, Collingwood and H.H. Price for thorough critical examination....Coady's book is immensely rich in details drawn from legal theory and practice, applied psychology and the history of science, as well as the philosophy of knowledge and language."—Times Literary Supplement

"The first thorough philosophical treatment of testimony....Coady sheds much light on the widely neglected topic of testimony. He draws important distinctions regarding testimony without being pedantic, and exercises caution when facing powerful sceptical challenges. Epistemologists and others can benefit from Coady's wide-ranging treatment of testimony."—Choice

"Coady has written a rare book that will repay careful study by anyone in the field of religious studies since its subject matter is not only basic but also, as his shows, as little understood as it is widely misunderstood....Coady breaks new ground in helping us understand the importance of testimony for ascertaining contingent truth. His work encourages similar care regarding such metaphysical or necessary existential truths as there may be. Students of religion have a good deal to learn from Coady's work on testimony."—The Journal of Religion

"This is a valuable book, a thorough and systematic study of a much neglected subject which ought really to be near the centre of epistemological concern. All in all this is an excellent, trail-blazing book on an important subject. It ranges widely. It is well written in a good accessible style and it is nicely produced with very few misprints."—The Philosophical Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198235514
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 3/23/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 528,133
  • Product dimensions: 9.13 (w) x 6.13 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Table of Contents

I. The Problematic: The domain of testimony; What is testimony?; Objections and clarifications; II. The Tradition: Testimony, observation, and the reductive approach; Deciding for testimony; The analogical approach; Scottish fundamentalism; III. The Solution: The status of testimony; Language and mind; IV: The Puzzles: Astonishing reports; The disappearance of history; Dretske's drinker; V. The Applications: Collingwood and historical testimony; Mathematical knowledge and reliable authority; Psychology and the law; Experts and the law

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