Dates
The course will be organized as an intensive course with 10 sessions over 5 days. It will take place at the Department of Philosophy in Uppsala, 20-24 November.
 
Teacher
Andreas Stokke
 
Course Description
Most of what we know, we know because someone told us so. Large parts of our knowledge of the world, of other people, even of ourselves, is based on information we have received from the testimony of others. Yet as widespread as this reliance on testimony is, it seems just as fragile. Given the impossibility of constantly policing the truthfulness and accuracy of our sources, we are forced to take on trust most of the testimony we receive from others. This doubleness is a central part of the philosophical interest in testimony, in particular, the epistemology of testimony. 
 
At the same time, the fact that we rely fundamentally on others has crucial ethical implications for what we do when we tell others things, and what can be done to us by how things are told to us. Particular ethical and political issues arise when someone’s testimony is given less credibility than it should due to irrelevant prejudices about the speaker. 
 
This course will revolve around these, and surrounding, issues concerning testimony by focusing on topics like the status of testimony among other sources of knowledge, the basis of our justification for believing what others tell us, to what extent testimony is a mechanism for transmitting knowledge between agents, what kind of a breech of trust is involved in lying or insincere testimony, and what kind of injustice is involved in disregarding what someone says due to prejudices about who they are or the group to which they belong.
 
The course is directed primarily at advanced students, at advanced MA level and PhD level. A high level of student participation in discussions is expected. 
 
The course will be conducted in English. 
 
Examination
The exam for the course will be a paper on a freely chosen topic related to those of the course. Exam papers can be written in English, Swedish, Norwegian or Danish.
 
Sessions and Readings
The plan for the sessions with required readings is as follows:
 
Session 1. Introduction and Course Overview
  • Audi, R. (2002) “The Sources of Knowledge” in P. Moser (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology
  • Lackey, J. (2008) Learning From Words, Oxford University Press, ch. 1
 
Sessions 2 & 3. Reductionism vs. Non-Reductionism about Testimony
Faulkner, P. (2007)  “On Telling and Trusting”, Mind 116(464): 875-902.
  • Lackey (2008, ch. 5)
 
Sessions 4 & 5. Transmission of Knowledge and Unknowing Testifiers
  • Graham, P. (2006) “Can Testimony Generate Knowledge?”, Philosophica 78: 105-127
  • Lackey (2008, ch. 2)
 
Sessions 6 & 7. Sincere and Insincere Testifiers
 
Sessions 8 & 9. Testimonial Injustice
  • Fricker, M. (2007) Epistemic Injustice, Oxford University Press, ch. 1 + 2 + 5
  • Luzzi, F. (2016) "Testimonial Injustice without Credibility Deficit (or Excess)”, Thought 5: 203–11
 
Session 10. Revision/Summary
TBA
 
All the course materials are available electronically through ub.uu.se
 
Secondary Readings
  • Adler, J. “Epistemological Problems of Testimony”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/testimony-episprob/
  • Coady, C.A.J. (1992) Testimony: A Philosophical Study, Oxford University Press
  • Code, L. (2008) Review of Fricker (2007), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews: http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/epistemic-injustice-power-and-the-ethics-of-knowing/
  • Davis, E. (2016) "Typecasts, Tokens, and Spokespersons: ACase for Credibility Excess as TestimonialInjustice” Hypatia 31(3): 485-501
  • Faulkner, P. (2009) Review of Lackey (2008), Mind 118(470): 479, 
  • Fricker, E. (1995) Critical notice of Coady (1992), Mind 104(414): 393-411
  • Green, C.R. “Epistemology of Testimony”, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://www.iep.utm.edu/ep-testi/
  • Lackey, J. & Sosa, E. (2006) (eds.) The Epistemology of Testimony, Clarendon Press
  • Maitra, I. (2010) Critical notice of Fricker (2007), Philosophical Books 51(4): 195-211
  • McKinnon, R. (2016) “Epistemic Injustice”, Philosophy Compass 11(8): 437-446
 
Other Resources