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Trust and Perspectivalism in the History of Epistemology: Testimony and After Certainty

newdigital Trust and Perspectivalism in the History
of Epistemology: Testimony and After Certainty
Article
journal RIVISTA DI FILOSOFIA NEO-SCOLASTICA
issue RIVISTA DI FILOSOFIA NEO-SCOLASTICA - 2020 - 1
title Trust and Perspectivalism in the History of Epistemology: Testimony and After Certainty
author
publisher Vita e Pensiero
format Article | Pdf
online since 05-2020
doi 10.26350/001050_000171
issn 00356247 (print) | 18277926 (digital)
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Robert Pasnau’s After Certainty tells a story about the history of epistemology from Aristotle to Hume through the establishment of epistemic ideals and their subsequent loosening when those ideals cannot be reached. Settling for less and less epistemic confidence, the epistemic quest leads fortunately not to skepticism but unfortunately to the impossibility of certainty. My aim is not to replace asnau’s story of epistemology but to highlight the presuppositions which determine his «dismal verdict» before proposing a switch in perspective. By drawing on contemporary theories of testimony, I focus on the class of philosophers who maintained two channels to knowledge – natural reason and «faith» – to argue these philosophers’ not only anticipate the limitations of natural reason but escape Pasnau’s discouraging conclusion. In shifting to these thinkers’ understanding of «faith» not as groundless belief but as trust in a speaker, the possibility of certain knowledge remains open if the speaker is divine.

keywords

Epistemology, Faith, Reason, Testimony, Trust

Author biography

KU Leuven - Marquette University, Milwaukee. Email: brett.yardley@kuleuven.be

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