Volume 1, Issue 2, 2001
Trust and Epistemic Cooperation
In this paper, I defend a certain moderate version of Humean evidentialism against a Reidian non-evidentialist’s position. My proposal of cooperative viewpoint of trust is based on the following theses: (i) epistemic cooperation is a necessary condition for us to attain knowledge (because of the scope and complexity of the task, capacity inequalities and background information, etc.), (ii) any form of cooperative activity, including division of labor, requires that cooperators trust one another, (iii) in contrast to Reidian non-evidentialism, justified trust cannot be blind but has to rely on some evidence, (iv) crucial evidence that the hearer can have is evidence about the trustworthiness of informants, i.e., their moral and epistemic character, (v) the fact that we depend on other people for most of our knowledge can be a good reason to weaken Humean epistemic self-reliance and to accept as epistemically responsible and rational the trusting partly based on epistemic forward looking reasons (gathering of information).