Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Round Table on the Philosophy of Testimony

Within the 2013 Coffee Break Conference, I will host a panel on the Philosophy of Testimony. Besides the usual scheme (short presentations+long discussions about each of them), I am thinking of having a final round-table, open also to people working with testimony (e.g., anthropologists, scholars working with statistics…). In order to avoid to have nothing but a final chat (which is always nice, and will anyway take place throughout the conference), I am considering to send the participants some of the questions we would like to discuss.

The following ones are my proposals, for the time being:

  1. 1. Is it legitimate to pay one's witness (as is frequently the case in anthropology and/or whenever one works with statistics)? How much does economical interest alter the testimony?
  2. 2. Is perception reliable enough to become the object of testimony (can we, e.g., trust someone when she refers about what she has seen, although we know that it was dark and that she probably believes to have seen more than she has actually seen)?
  3. 3. Is second-grade testimony (e.g., I refer that S told me that p) reliable?
  4. 4. How can the reliability of a witness be tested? Can, e.g., the fact that she is honest be a criterion? Or that she has proved to be reliable in a certain (different) case?

What would you add/change? Which aspects of the philosophy of testimony need to be debated?

For further information on the CBC in general and on Philosophy of Testimony in particular, see this  (CBC) and  this (Testimony) wiki page. Within this blog, see this post.


Unknown said...

I would add:

i. Role of memory in case of second-grade testimony, i.e., do we get the “full” picture out of the testimony provided? Also, is it applicable in case of first-grade testimony?

ii. Role of language/communicative medium, through which the testimony is provided.

elisa freschi said...

Thank you very much, Sudipta. I will update the post accordingly in the next days.

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