Abstract: Richard Foley and others have recently argued that there is an a priori connection between rational trust in one’s own faculties to rational trust of other human persons. This chapter argues, to the contrary, that we must instead establish through empirical observation which others are to be trusted and under which circumstances – there is no rational presumption of the trustworthiness of others. Hence, insofar as one’s religious beliefs are based on trust in the testimony of others, rationality requires that one assess the credentials of those whom one trusts.
Comment: A great primary reading for a religious epistemology course, or otherwise a great secondary reading for a more general philosophy of religion course, for a unit on Faith. If being used as a primary reading, it could be good to ask students to explain whether and why they agree that religious beliefs are based on trust in the testimony of others - and, if they do agree, whether this is problematic? What other (non-religious) cases can they think of where our beliefs are based on trust in the testimony of others?