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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 52, Issue 4, December 2012

Joseph Palencik
Pages 405-420
DOI: 10.5840/ipq201252442

Kant and the Limitations of Legitimized Historical Knowledge

Kant’s emphasis on the individual knower often overshadows the social dimension in his thought. In particular, it is infrequently recognized that he has a coherent and well-developed theory of testimony. In this paper I develop Kant’s view of testimony and argue for the important distinction that he holds between historical belief derived from testimony and what I shall call mere belief. While beliefs of the former type can be justified and often amount to instances of knowledge, beliefs of the second type are not justified, cannot lead to knowledge, and yet may still be legitimately held.

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