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One kind of successful communication involves the transmission of knowledge from speaker to hearer. Such testimonial knowledge transmission is usually seen as conforming to three widely held epistemological approaches: reliabilism, impartialism and evidentialism. First, a speaker must be a reliable testifier in order that she transmits knowledge, and reliability is cashed out in terms of her likelihood of speaking the truth. Second, if a certain speaker's testimony has sufficient epistemic weight to be believed by hearer1, then it should also be believed by hearer2. Third, the normative constraint here is evidentially grounded: whether or not a hearer should believe a speaker depends on the evidence the hearer has that the speaker is telling the truth. I argue that there are cases of testimonial knowledge transmission that are incompatible with these three claims. This is when one accepts the testimony of an intimate friend.

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Keywords: Evidentialism; Partiality; Reliabilism; Testimony; epistemology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Oxford Brookes University.

Publication date: 2009-11-01

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  • Empedocles aims to provide a publication and discussion platform for those working at the interface of philosophy and the study of communication, in all its aspects. This Journal is published in cooperation with the Section for the Philosophy of Communication of ECREA, the European Communication Reserach and Education Association.
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