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CZ Elgin


I argue that trustworthiness is an epistemic desideratum. It does not reduce to
justified or reliable true belief, but figures in the reason why justified or reliable true beliefs
are often valuable. Such beliefs can be precarious. If a belief's being justified requires that
the evidence be just as we take it to be, then if we are off even by a little, the belief is
unwarranted. Similarly for reliability. Although it satisfies the definition of knowledge, such
a belief is not trustworthy. We ought not use it as a basis for inference or action and ought
not give others to believe it. The trustworthiness of a belief, I urge, depends on its being
backed by reasons—considerations that other members of the appropriate epistemic
community cannot reasonably reject. Trustworthiness is intersubjective. It both depends on
and contributes to the evolving cognitive values of an epistemic community.

Philosophical Papers Vol. 37 (3) 2008: pp. 371-387

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