There in only ‘Philosophy:’ The case of Testimony

There is only “Philosophy”: The case of testimony


The present introduction summarises the debate on the epistemological value of testimony, with a special focus on the reductionism vs. antireductionism polemics, and situates Indian philosophers within it. One thus sees that some Indian philosophical schools (especially Vaiśeṣika and Buddhist epistemology) attempted to reduce testimony to another, more fundamental, instrument of knowledge, typically to inference, whereas others (especially Mīmāṃṣā and Nyāya) emphasised the independent nature of testimony. The study then moves to the problem of the criteria for a reliable speaker and discusses border-line cases, such as that of speaking instruments (computers, clocks and the like). Finally, it looks at some promising and open-ended topics evoked by the Indian-European dialogue on testimony.


intercultural philosophy; philosophy of language; epistemology; epistemology of testimony; Mīmāṃsā; Kumārila; Prabhākara; Nyāya; Buddhist epistemology; Vaiśeṣika

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