Anscombe, G.E.M. (1981) ‘Hume and Julius Caesar’, in The Collected Philosophical Papers of G.E.M. Anscombe, vol. 1, Oxford: Blackwell.
(Strong criticism of Hume’s views on the transmission of historical knowledge.)
Aquinas, T. (1257–9) Commentary on Boethius’s De Trinitate, Toronto, Ont.: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1958.
(Aquinas has interesting reflections on testimony as a kind of natural faith, occupying a position midway between knowledge and opinion.)
Augustine (386–429) The Works of Aurelius Augustinus, ed.
Dods, Edinburgh: T.&T. Clark, 1871–6.
(Of all the philosophers of the ancient world, Augustine has the surest appreciation of the extent of our dependence upon the word of others and makes an interesting attempt to fit it into a Platonist epistemological framework. See especially, De Trinitate, De Magistro, De Utilitate Credendi, Retractiones.)
Bradley, F.H. (1935a) ‘The Presuppositions of Critical History’, in Collected Essays, vol. 1, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(Bradley’s first publication, this is an essay on historical method which supports the new German school of historical criticism of the Bible, and seeks to undermine the credibility of historical testimony to what is ‘non-analogous’ to present experience.)
Bradley, F.H. (1935b) ‘The Evidences of Spiritualism’, in Collected Essays, vol. 2, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(After Hume, Bradley is one of the most significant writers on testimony. Here he tries to accommodate the importance of testimony by giving a reductive treatment of its epistemic significance, and attempting to show the limits of its value to ‘critical’ history. His attack on spiritualism extends his treatment in interesting ways.)
Burnyeat, M.F. (1980) ‘Socrates and the Jury: Paradoxes in Plato’s Distinction between Knowledge and True Belief’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society supplementary vol. 54: 173–191.
(An important discussion of Plato’s epistemology, which includes an analysis of Plato’s approach to epistemology.)
Burnyeat, M.F. (1987) ‘Wittgenstein and Augustine De Magistro’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society supplementary vol. 61: 1–24.
(Augustine’s views on teaching are explored and compared to Wittgenstein’s epistemological outlook. The discussion illuminates the significance of testimony for the theory of knowledge.)
Coady, C.A.J. (1992) Testimony: A Philosophical Study, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(Extended treatment of the topic that defends a non-reductionist approach to the epistemology of testimony.)
Coady, C.A.J. (1994) ‘Speaking of Ghosts’, in F.F.
Schmitt (ed.) Socializing Epistemology, Lanham, MD and London: Rowman & Littlefield.
(Discusses what seems to be a challenge to some of the methodology and conclusions of Coady’s 1992 work.)
Descartes, R. (1637) Discourse on Method, in The Philosophical Works of Descartes, vol. 1, trans.
Stoothoff and D.
Murdoch, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1985.
(Formative work on the theory of knowledge by one of the great figures of modern philosophy. Does not discuss testimony, but his outlook embodies the individualism that significantly influenced later theorists.)
Dummett, M.A.E. (1994) ‘Memory and Testimony’, in B.K.
Matilal and A.
Chakrabarti (eds) Knowing from Words, Dordrecht: Kluwer.
(Exploration of the deep links between the epistemological status of testimony and of memory. Argues for an anti-reductionist stance on testimony.)
Fricker, E. (1987) ‘The Epistemology of Testimony’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society supplementary vol. 61: 57–83.
(Argues for the superiority of justificationist over reliabilist accounts of the status of testimony, and treats testimony as a ‘secondary’ epistemic link compared with such ‘primary’ links as seeing.)
Fricker, E. (1995) ‘Telling and Trusting: Reductionism and Anti-Reductionism in the Epistemology of Testimony: Critical Notice of C.A.J. Coady: Testimony: A Philosophical Study‘, Mind, 104: 393–411.
(Seeks to distinguish the merits of different kinds of reductionism and opposition to them in this area.)
Hardwig, J. (1985) ‘Epistemic Dependence’, Journal of Philosophy
82 (7): 335–349.
(Argues that appeal to epistemic authority is an essential ingredient in much knowledge and that, because of this, rationality sometimes consists in refusing to think for oneself.)
Hardwig, J. (1991) ‘The Role of Trust in Knowledge’, Journal of Philosophy
88 (12): 693–708.
(Emphasizes the significance of trust for the project of knowledge, and the related importance of ethics for epistemology.)
Hume, D. (1748) An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, in Enquiries, ed.
Nidditch and L.A.
Selby-Bigge, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.
(Although Hume does not have an extended treatment of testimony, his discussions of its epistemic status in the essay ‘On Miracles’ represent an acknowledgement of its practical importance combined with an influential attempt to make it theoretically derivative from more fundamental sources of information.)
Locke, J. (1689) An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed.
Nidditch, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.
(Locke discusses problems about the assessment of particular testimonies and the apparent decay of the reliability of testimony through transmission chains in book 4, chapter 16.)
Mackie, J.L. (1969–70) ‘The Possibility of Innate Knowledge’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society
(Discusses the problem of testimony and coins the phrase ‘autonomous knowledge’ to describe the ideal driving the reductionist about testimony.)
Matilal, B.K. and Chakrabarti, A. (1994) Knowing from Words: Western and Indian Philosophical Analysis of Understanding and Testimony, Dordrecht: Kluwer.
(Collection of papers discussing issues about testimony from Western and Indian perspectives. In addition to the essays by Dummett and Strawson listed separately here, there are, among others, chapters by Coady, Fricker, Lehrer, Sosa and Welbourne.)
Plato (4th century) Theaetetus and Meno, in The Dialogues of Plato, trans. and intro. B.
Jowett, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1953.
(Theaetetus 201 and Meno 97a–b insist that testimony would not provide knowledge even if perception did.)
Popper, K. (1968) Conjectures and Refutations: the Growth of Scientific Knowledge, 2nd. edn, New York: Harper & Row.
(Notable for viewing our reliance upon testimony as a reason for being opposed to foundationalism.)
Price, H.H. (1969) Belief, Lecture 5, New York: Humanities Press.
(Interesting modern discussion of testimony that is fully sensitive to many of the central problems.)
Reid, T. (1983) Philosophical Works, with notes by Sir W.
Bracken, Hildesheim: George Olms Verlag.
(Reid treats our regard for testimony as epistemologically basic because it stems from first principles of common sense.)
Ross, J.F. (1975) ‘Testimonial Evidence’, in Analysis and Metaphysics: Essays in Honor of R.M. Chisholm, ed.
Lehrer, Dordrecht: Reidel.
(Perceptive treatment, in the mode of Chisholm, of what it is to know on the basis of testimony.)
Russell, B. (1948) Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits, New York: Allen & Unwin.
(Here and elsewhere Russell shows awareness of the complexities of our dependence upon testimony, and he offers an analogical argument to deal with them.)
Schmitt, F.F. (1987) ‘Justification, Sociality and Autonomy’, Synthèse
(Argues against the individualism implicit in traditional epistemologies and criticizes their treatment of testimony. Rejects the ‘extreme’ theory of Locke and the ‘milder’ theory of Hume, and explores an alternative view of intellectual autonomy to that inherent in the tradition.)
Schmitt, F.F. (1994) ‘Socializing Epistemology: An Introduction through Two Sample Issues’, in Socializing Epistemology: the Social Dimensions of Knowledge, Lanham, MD and London: Rowman & Littlefield.
(Schmitt uses testimony as one example of the need for a new, social approach to epistemology.)
Strawson, P.F. (1994) ‘Knowing from Words’, in B.K.
Matilal and A.
Chakrabarti (eds) Knowing from Words, Dordrecht: Kluwer.
(A brief critique of reductionist approaches to testimony.)
Welbourne, M. (1986) The Community of Knowledge, Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press.
(Short but interesting book that argues for a conception of knowledge as ‘commonable’ and is strongly anti-reductionist about testimony. Also argues that knowledge is conceptually prior to belief and cannot be defined in terms of it.)