In the essay “Epistemic Self-Trust and the Consensus Gentium Argument,” Dr. Linda Zagzebski examines the reasonableness of religious belief. More specifically, she argues that truth demands epistemic self-trust—roughly, a trust in the reliability of our own faculties. Furthermore, it is asserted that this self-trust commits me to an epistemic trust in others, which in turn provides grounds for believing that because many other people (to whom we have granted this epistemic trust) believe in God, this prevalence of belief thereby provides a reason for me to believe in God, too.
A critical step in Zagzebski’s argument is the move from epistemic self-trust to granting this sort of trust to other people—a move for which a sub-argument can be drawn out of her essay. My paper’s focus will be to examine Zagzebski’s sub-argument for her second premise (i.e., granting epistemic trust to others) to which I will advance two objections.