Macquarie University
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On Epistemic Trust

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posted on 2024-06-12, 05:40 authored by Jie Wen

Trust is an indispensable aspect of our social lives. To lead a normal life, we must rely on others for various forms of cooperation, including education, business, sports, scientific research, cultural communication, and more. As a significant theme, trust has garnered widespread attention across different disciplines. Philosophers have explored this concept from various branches, such as moral philosophy, epistemology, and the philosophy of science. In this dissertation, my aim is to explore the role of epistemic trust in addressing classical epistemological issues. In Part I, I address the sceptical problem by emphasizing the role of epistemic trust. I propose two anti-sceptical strategies. The first involves using epistemic trust to illustrate the rationality and credibility of common-sense beliefs, ultimately concluding that Moore’s common-sense approach has effective anti-sceptical force. The second argues that denying the sceptical argument is meaningful by revealing that philosophical doubt lacks the general structure of real doubt. In doubt-reduction inquiry, epistemic trust assists inquirers in eliminating real doubt and gaining knowledge. In Part II, I primarily consider the questions ‘What is the nature of epistemic trust?’ and ‘Is epistemic trust an intellectual virtue?’. The answer to the first question involves proposing an affective account of evidence-based trust. Although epistemic trust is an emotion, it still requires an evidential basis (diachronic evidence) to distinguish it from gullibility. The answer to the second question is that a trustor is virtuous primarily because the person possesses the necessary epistemic abilities and dispositions of acuity and vigilance. Part II serves as preparatory work for Part III, where I use the intellectual virtue of epistemic trust to investigate the issue of testimonial knowledge. On the one hand, I explain why the case of testimony and the anti-individualist criticism cannot undermine the theoretical advantages of virtue epistemology via epistemic trust. On the other hand, I address the novice-expert problem from a novice-focused approach: a virtuous novice can exercise the intellectual virtue of epistemic trust to identify genuinely trustworthy experts and testimony. In brief, we should recognize the value of epistemic trust in epistemology.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Moore’s Proof, Common-Sense Beliefs, and Epistemic Trust -- Chapter 2. Real Doubt, Doubt-Reduction Inquiry, and Epistemic Trust -- Chapter 3. A New Affective Account of Evidence-Based Trust -- Chapter 4. Epistemic Trust as an Intellectual Virtue -- Chapter 5. Virtue Epistemology, Testimonial Knowledge, and Epistemic Trust -- Chapter 6. Novice-Expert Problem, Expert Testimony, and Epistemic Trust -- Conclusion -- Bibliography

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Doctor of Philosophy

Department, Centre or School

Department of Philosophy

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Mark Alfano

Additional Supervisor 1

Richard Menary

Additional Supervisor 2

Zhenhua Yu


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




262 pages

Former Identifiers

AMIS ID: 354815

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