Professor Elizabeth Fricker

College appointment: Emeritus Fellow


1986 D.Phil thesis in Philosophy, Oxford: ‘Knowledge and Language’
1979 B.Phil in Philosophy, Oxford – pass with distinction (Thesis: ‘Rules and Language: an Examination of some of Wittgenstein’s Arguments’)
1975 B.A. Hons in Philosophy and Economics, University of Oxford – 1st Class


Current status: retired

2017- 2020 Visiting Professor, University of Notre Dame

1989-2017 Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy, Magdalen College, Oxford, and Unversity Lecturer in Philosophy, Oxford University

1987-’89 Fixed-term Fellow and tutor in Philosophy, Magdalen College, Oxford

1980-85 Junior Research Fellow, Magdalen College, Oxford

Areas of Research Specialisation

My D.Phil thesis investigated a then neglected topic, how knowledge and justified belief is gained through testimony. Since then, I have worked over the years on developing a set of related ideas about testimony, and have published over 30 papers on this and related topics. My early papers argue against the ‘fundamentalism’ about testimony advocated by Tony Coady and others, and for a ‘local reductionist’ account of the epistemology of testimony. More recently, I have focussed on the nature of the speech act of telling, and the social norms governing it. I see the socio-linguistics of this speech act as the core of a correct account of how each of us gains knowledge from what others tell us. I also have an ongoing interest in other issues in epistemology and philosophy of mind, and in the philosophy of Ludwig Wittenstein; and have published on Williamson on knowledge as a simple mental state, on self-knowledge, and on eliminative materialism. A full research CV, and pre-print texts of my recent papers, is available on my webpage: