more from Hilary Putnam

Single Idea 6273

[catalogued under 13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 7. Testimony]

Full Idea

Our ability to picture how people are likely to respond may well be innate; indeed, our disposition to believe what other people tell us (which is fundamental to knowledge) could hardly be an inference, as that isnít good enough for knowledge.

Gist of Idea

Knowledge depends on believing others, which must be innate, as inferences are not strong enough


Hilary Putnam (Meaning and the Moral Sciences [1978], Lec VI)

Book Reference

Putnam,Hilary: 'Meaning and the Moral Sciences' [RKP 1981], p.74

A Reaction

An interesting claim. There could be an intermediate situation, which is a hard-wired non-conscious inference. When dismantled, the 'innate' brain circuits for assessing testimony could turn out to work on logic and evidence.