, Volume 74, Issue 1, pp 131–135 | Cite as

Jennifer Lackey: Learning from Words. Testimony as a Source of Knowledge

Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008, 295 pp, ISBN 978-0199219162, USD 70.00 (Hardback), ISBN 978-0199575619 (Paperback)
  • Nicola MößnerEmail author
Book Review

Jennifer Lackey presents a well elaborated study in the epistemology of testimony and of related problems. Whereas perception, memory, introspection, and reason are taken to be individual sources of knowledge, as they are, so to speak, onboard-sources of man, testimony is the only one dealing with the social aspects of gaining and justifying knowledge. A lot we know we owe to the successful use of this epistemic link. Every kind of report—both in direct conversation and in indirect forms like the use of mass media—classically belongs to the realm of testimony in the epistemological sense.

In this context Lackey provides us with a lot of fresh ideas about a discussion that has (re-)started in the 1990s with C. A. J. Coady`s book “Testimony a Philosophical Study” (Oxford 1992). Her new perspective on a variety of the epistemological problems is mainly based on her emphasizing the dual nature of testimony. This concerns both the concept and the epistemology of testimony.

Lackey starts her...


  1. Audi, R. (2003). Epistemology. A contemporary introduction to the theory of knowledge (2nd ed.). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Coady, C. A. J. (1992). Testimony. A philosophical study. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RWTH Aachen, Philosophisches InstitutAachenGermany

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