Recent epistemological history has inclined towards ‘testimonial optimism’, keen to stress the division of epistemic labour and how ubiquitously we depend upon the words of others. Its counterpart, ‘testimonial pessimism’, marks out a cluster of gloomier views, which stress—in different ways—testimony’s epistemic shortcomings. This chapter’s project is to establish a robust connection between pessimist readings of testimony, and two different commitments one might have in the philosophy of language: ‘emotionism’, and what the author calls ‘strong’ readings of the de re. The author does not aim to say, in this chapter, what she thinks we ought to do with these connections; that is, she aims to remain agnostic on whether we should take the connections she sketches to give us a way of vindicating pessimism, or whether they are better read as part of an error theoretic project.
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