Conceptualizing credibility of testimony


Bertil Rolf

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Keywords: Testimony, Credibility, Reliability, Evidence, Epistemics, Hume, Goldman, Shapin.


Abstract
: Two questions are focused below: (1) What is the character of credibility, i.e. justified belief based on testimony? and (2) What epistemological framework is needed to study the credibility of testimony? The questions are interdependent. A characterization of credibility is pointless unless we are clear about what we want to conceptualize and why. My aim in this article - "paper" is hardly the right word for it - is to steer between a rationalizing, epistemological Scylla that neglects all characteristic features of testimony and a relativizing, descriptive Charybdis that makes studies of testimony a subspecies of psychology or sociology. The standpoint advocated is related to Alvin Goldman's epistemics.


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Bertil Rolf
Professor of Philosophy
University of Karlskrona/Ronneby
bro@iem.hk-r.se


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