Can Trust Itself Ground a Reason to Believe the Trusted?

Abstracta 6 (Special Issue VI):47-83 (2012)
Abstract
Can a reason to believe testimony derive from the addressee’s trust itself or only from reliability in the speaker that the trust perhaps causes? I aim to cast suspicion on the former view, defended by Faulkner, in favor of the latter – despite agreeing with Faulkner’s emphasis on the second-personal normativity of testimonial assurance. Beyond my narrow disagreement with Faulkner lie two broader issues. I argue that Faulkner misappropriates Bernard Williams’s genealogy of testimony when he makes use of Williams’s genealogical argument in his own preferred assurance view of testimony. Though Williams doesn’t clearly articulate it, there is a deep reason why Williams’s genealogy cannot underwrite an argument for trust-based testimonial reasons. Can a genealogical argument underwrite any version of the assurance view? I sketch an assurance view of testimonial reasons that rejects Faulkner’s thesis that such reasons could be grounded in trust. Then I examine what it would take for that assurance view to receive genealogical vindication.
Keywords testimony  trust
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