Trust Authority

Mon, Mar 29

In this class, we will consider whether some important philosophical truths are best learned through observing tradition, trusting authorities, and cultivating a more deferential kind of intellectual humility.

By the end of class, you will:

  1. Appreciate arguments for adopting beliefs in accordance with tradition
  2. Critically reflect on the appropriate place of tradition and authority in belief
  3. Reflect on problems or puzzles that arise for views that emphasize the importance of trust.

Read This:


A Modern Defense of Religious Authority (Linda Zagzebski)


When You Can't Just 'Trust the Science' (New York Times)


Do This:

Complete these steps before you come to class

  • Consider the following prompts (you may want to write responses to these in your journal or talk about them with a friend):
    • Zagzebski describes conditions under which trusting authority is justified. What are those conditions? Who are the authorities in your life that Zagzebski would think you can trust? Do you in fact trust those people?
    • Why do you think trust and authority play central roles in ordering many religious, social, and political communities around the world? Do we, globally, trust too much or too little?
  • Practice quiz:¬†

Watch This: