Arquivo para December 21st, 2023

Confidence and humility

21 Dec

In moral philosophy there are two types of trust: trust, which is characterized by the deepest interpersonal relationship, which involves good will and vulnerability, and reliability, a more basic type of trust that refers to the functioning of the world and things.

A good interpersonal relationship cannot be established without respect, and respect requires humility, simplicity and true relationships. Reliability also involves humility in learning how the world and things work and finding balance in social relationships.

There is an epistemological concept that works on the issue of trust, it involves testimony, it helps knowledge both in personal relationships and in reliability.

Interpersonal conceptions propose a use of the concept of trust based on analogies, and can be applied to epistemological debates without neglecting the moral issue.

This neglect due to an excessively objective and even positivist conception that still strongly influences epistemic approaches is common. An interesting proposal to be analyzed is from Richard Foley (2001).

The use of moral concepts in epistemology (LOCKE, 1975; CHISHOLM, 1966) worked in moral philosophy to resolve epistemic questions, but it is questionable whether the simple reduction of epistemic concepts to moral is valid, Firth (1978) defends the irreducibility of epistemic concepts , saying that although they can be conceived in an analogous way, and may even be similar, they are not irreducible to each other, which can cause theoretical confusion.

So because they are analogous and relevant, because many of our daily beliefs (not necessarily objectively scientific concepts) are acquired by the speech acts of other human beings in everyday relationships, the problem then is precisely knowing how to accept these speech acts as epistemic sources, as they are in different cultures and on a large social scale.

Foley uses the concept of self-trust, but the relationship we establish with our own faculties is a relationship of reliability. If we look for the origins of both concepts, we will find considerable differences between rely and trust, but they are used as synonyms and ignore the differences.

Foley’s mistake is precisely because he disregards the moral characteristics of trust, and it is important to be studied because of this, in everyday life we ​​forget that trust involves moral aspects, including a fundamental one, which is humility in recognizing the speech of the Other.


CHISHOLM, R. (1966) Theory of knowledge. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

FIRTH, R. (1978) Are epistemic concepts reducible to ethical concepts? In: GOLDMAN, A. I.; KIM, J. Values and Morals. Dordrecht: D. Reidel.

FOLEY, R. (2001) Intellectual trust in oneself and others. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.

LOCKE, J. (1975) An essay concerning human understanding. Oxford: Clarendon Press.