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Coady - "Testimony & Observation"

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Philosophy 2006
Sean Coughlin

COADYTestimonyObservation4 prima facie categories of evidence observation deductive inference inductive inference and testimony Hume notes there is no species of reasoning more common more useful and even necessary to human life than that which is derived from the testimony of men and the reports of eye witnesses and spectators Humes theory constitutes a reduction of testimony as a form of evidence or support to the status of a species of inductive inference Humes viewThe reason why we place any credit in witnesses and historians is not derived from any connection between testimony and reality but because we are accustomed to find a conformity between them o Coady refers to this as the Reductionist ThesisCoadys criticism of this Reductionist Thesis begins by calling attention to a fatal ambiguity in the use of terms like experience and observation in the Humean statement of the Reductionist Thesis Hume states that we only trust in testimony because experience has shown it be reliableo But where experience means individual observation and the expectations it gives rise to this seems plainly failo Where it means common experience it is surely questionbegging Our reliance upon testimony as an inst
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