Review of Metaphysics 69 (3):555-582 (2016)

Matthew Siebert
Belmont Abbey College
According to David Hume, testimonial belief is justified inferentially; according to Thomas Reid, by contrast, testimonial belief has justification by default. Aquinas’s approach is different. This article explains the importance of various kinds of testimonial belief in Aquinas, and argues that his account of testimonial justification is a pluralist one: testimonial ‘opinion’ is justified inferentially, while testimonial ‘faith’ is justified by one’s attitude toward the speaker. When one has faith in this restricted sense, one believes the speaker’s statement in order to ‘adhere’ to the speaker, with a special act of will, and typically for the reason that the speaker is truthful. The article concludes with some comments on the characteristics and advantages of Aquinas’s account that distinguish it from recent accounts of testimonial justification.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
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