Hedged testimony

Peter van Elswyk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Speakers offer testimony. They also hedge. This essay offers an account of how hedging makes a difference to testimony. Two components of testimony are considered: how testimony warrants a hearer's attitude, and how testimony changes a speaker's responsibilities. Starting with a norm-based approach to testimony where hearer's beliefs are prima facie warranted because of social norms and speakers acquire responsibility from these same norms, I argue that hedging alters both components simultaneously. It changes which attitudes a hearer is prima facie warranted in forming in response to testimony, and reduces how much responsibility a speaker undertakes in testifying. A consequence of this account is that speakers who hedge merely for strategic purposes deprive their hearers of warrant for stronger doxastic attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-369
Number of pages29
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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