Document Type



Master of Arts



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

William Dunaway


Eric Wiland

Jon McGinnis


A central question in the epistemology of testimony concerns whether a

speaker’s testimony should count as a reason for a hearer to believe the

content of the speaker’s assertion. Proponents of the interpersonal view of

testimony (IVTs) contend that it is the interpersonal relationship between

speaker and hearer that provides the hearer with a reason to believe what

the speaker says. In contrast, critics of IVTs argue that the interpersonal

relationship between speaker and hearer is epistemically superfluous. Call

this the superfluity objection to IVTs. In the following paper, I defend

an IVT against the superfluity objection. I argue that the speech act of

telling is both genuinely interpersonal and has epistemic import. As I

present it, telling is an intersubjective, hence interpersonal, speech act:

it constitutively requires more than one party for an act of telling to

occur. Drawing from Grice (1989), I argue that the features which make

telling constitutively intersubjective also contribute to making it genuinely

epistemic. As such, the telling view of testimony avoids the superfluity

objection, vindicating IVTs.