Vol. 39 No. 1 (2019): The Prismatic Shape of Trust

A Theory of Epistemic Trust and Testimony

George Christopoulos
Concordia University

Published 2019-06-10


  • trust,
  • testimony,
  • justified epistemic trust,

How to Cite

Christopoulos, G. (2019). A Theory of Epistemic Trust and Testimony. Teoria. Rivista Di Filosofia, 39(1), 45–62. https://doi.org/10.4454/teoria.v39i1.56


This essay connects the justification of trust and the justification of testimony. I provide a theory which entails that justified epistemic trust is a necessary condition on justified testimonial uptake. Two important desiderata of a theory of the epistemology of testimony are that it does not lead to generalized skepticism, nor is it susceptible to gullibility about important cases. The proposed theory of testimony doubles as a theory of epistemic trust that is better than alternatives. My theory posits two kinds of Epistemic Trust (ET): Affective and Cognitive Epistemic Trust (AET and CET). I argue both processes can be justified (JAET and JCET) and both can lead to justified uptake of testimonially-based beliefs. My theory of epistemic trust distinctly carves a role for subject stakes: when they are high, the evidential justification conditions on epistemic trust become more exacting on the testimonially-based beliefs they support.