Philosophical Topics

Volume 49, Issue 2, Fall 2021


Catherine Z. Elgin
Pages 17-34

Beyond the Information Given: Teaching, Testimony, and the Advancement of Understanding

Teaching is not testimony. Although both convey information, they have different uptake requirements. Testimony aims to impart information and typically succeeds if the recipient believes that information on account of having been told by a reliable informant. Teaching aims to equip learners to go beyond the information given—to leverage that information to broaden, deepen, and critique their current understanding of a topic. Teaching fails if the recipients believe the information only because it is what they have been told.