Dualism in the Epistemology of Testimony and the Ability Intuition

Spyridon Orestis Palermos

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In her book, Learning From Words (2008), Jennifer Lackey extensively argues for a dualist account of testimonial knowledge. That is to say, testimonial justification or warrant is neither reducible to, nor completely independent of the hearer's basic sources of knowledge, such as sense perception, memory and inductive inference; instead, both the speaker and the hearer must make a positive epistemic contribution to testimonial knowledge. Lackey, however, does not classify her account into any of the broader trends of contemporary epistemology, despite the fact that she has argued against virtue reliabilism through a counterexample of … testimonial knowledge, viz., the Morris case (2007). Conversely, the aim of the present paper is to investigate whether Lackey’s astute analysis is in line with the ability intuition—i.e. the idea that knowledge must be the product of cognitive abilities—as it is captured by a virtue reliabilistic necessary condition on knowledge that has been recently put forward by Pritchard, namely COGAweak. I proceed by outlining Lackey's dualist account and the closely related aspects of the ability condition on knowledge in order to perform a comparative analysis that will hopefully expose some intriguing similarities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-613
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2011


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