Testimony and grammatical evidentials


Unlike other sources of evidence like perception and memory, testimony is intimately related to natural language. That intimacy cannot be overlooked. In this chapter, I show how cross-linguistic considerations are relevant to the epistemology of testimony. I make my case with declaratives containing grammaticalized evidentials. My discussion has a negative and a positive part. For the negative part, it is argued that some definitions of testimony are mistaken because they do not apply to testimony offered by a declarative containing an evidential. The positive component discusses a new puzzle noted by McCready (2015) that evidentials raise about the justificatory status of testimony-based beliefs.

Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology
Peter van Elswyk
Assistant Professor of Philosophy