Testimonies and humanism

09 Aug

True humanism is what allows the evolution of the civilizing process, preserving what is essential that every man has, which is his Being, this goes beyond the conditions of economic, social and political survival, he must include the Other and give this testimony.

Testimonies range from cases in which someone needs information and turns to someone or some epistemic means (organized knowledge) to new scientific reports that reveal the most intricate mysteries of life and the universe.

Epistemologists agree on the importance of testimony as a source of justification, along with perception (cognitive and beyond), memory (all means of information and dissemination) and reasoning (beyond the logical, physical and metaphysical), The divergence lies in how falsely justified testimonial beliefs can arise from justified beliefs.

This is due to the fact that not only beliefs considered in the religious aspect, but also them, but the fact that it is possible that testimonial beliefs involving perception, memory and cognition (my addition) are reliable from previously justified beliefs, this is the current called reductionist, because regardless of the testimony, it is already justified.

Anti-reductionists argue that the justification of testimonial beliefs is straightforward: we are justified in believing something simply because someone testifies to something even though there are no reasons not to do so, there are different tentative responses to this debate.

Outside of this epistemic debate, we must think that we live in a time when it is difficult to think and organize information in order to reach the testimony as a source of truth, one can defend peace even by making war, one can defend democracy by limiting the civil rights and divergent ideas, justice can be defined by changing the rules of law to give rise to injustice, one can proclaim a belief even while limiting oneself to a partial practice.

Thus, what is at stake is not the testimony of beliefs, but often their own denial, and it can be a matter not just of bad faith or ill will, but of difficulty in cognition, which is why I made this addition to perception and memory, where the problem is the source of information.

A true humanism must presuppose testimony, otherwise we do not have a reliable reference for our arguments, dialogues and overcoming disagreements.

We can only test our way of life if we live up to what we witness.


Leonard, Nick, “Epistemological Problems of Testimony”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2023 Edition), Edward N. Zalta & Uri Nodelman (eds.), URL = , 2021.


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