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Unformatted text preview: 1091001notesWeek9 © 1 Dr Mc’s Philosophy 001 (1091) Lecture Notes, Week 9 © Arguments and Testimony We often rely on the words of others when deciding what to believe. That is, we accept a statement on the basis of somebody else’s “testimony”. This is often okay! Can you imagine what it would be like not to take anybody’s word for anything? -You’d have to open a can of soup before you bought it, just to see if it had in it what the label said. -You’d have to go to foreign countries to learn anything about them. -You would have to create your own measuring instruments. Language is important to us in part because it allows us to transmit information. What we should be concerned with is whether the case we are considering is one in which testimony is not good evidence. There are two main ways in which testimony plays a role. 1) in testimonial arguments 2) in support of premises of non-testimonial arguments. 1) Testimonial arguments. A testimonial argument is one in which the main premise is that somebody has said that P, and whose conclusion is P. 1. S said that P [is true]. 2. P [is true]. [Saying that P= saying that P is true.] There is a missing premise here, needed to make this argument’s cogency apparent. Standard Pattern #1 for Testimonial Arguments: 1. S said that P is true. 2. Usually, when someone says that something is true, it is true. 3. P is true. (or simply “P”.) But does this cover all we’d like to see covered? What about that used car salesperson.... Standard Pattern #2 for Testimonial Arguments: 1. S said that P is true. 2. S was sincere in saying that P is true. 3. Usually, when someone sincerely says that P is true, P is true. 4. P (is true). 1091001notesWeek9 © 2 Now, this is much better than pattern #1. Following this pattern will lead to trouble much less often. However, what about that person at work, who is always going on about stuff he knows nothing about... Standard Pattern #3 for Testimonial Arguments: 1. S said that P is true. 2. S was sincere in saying that P is true. 3. S is knowledgeable about the subject matter of P. 4. Usually, when someone sincerely says P, and is knowledgeable about the subject matter of P, P is true....
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This note was uploaded on 12/07/2010 for the course PHIL PHIL 001 taught by Professor Dr.mc. during the Spring '10 term at Simon Fraser.
- Spring '10