As I've been reflecting on Elizabeth Anscombe's work on trust and testimony, I remembered some passages from Thomas Hobbes on similar themes, and I'd like to bring them into dialog with each other. In an earlier post I discussed Anscombe's distinction between believing a person and believing that what a person says is true, as well as her distinction between original and derivative epistemic authority.
In my last post, I reflected on Elizabeth Anscombe's 1979 essay "What Is It to Believe Someone?"; that essay is, more or less, a continuation of a line of thought she began exploring in her 1973 article "Hume and Julius Caesar," which is concerned with knowledge of history. In this post, I want to sketch Anscombe's argument in this earlier work, and raise a question or two about it.
Much of my research has been on trust, and on epistemic trust--that is, trust with respect to forming beliefs and making knowledge claims--in particular. Epistemic trust is an important issue in many sub-branches of philosophy, such as philosophy of science and philosophy of education.