In this philosophical tour de force, Joseph J. Godfrey argues that trusting is a matter of what a person does—well or badly—and not at heart a matter of beliefs about someone. And believing someone’s words is a manner of trusting. Trusting is central to the practice of theistic religion. And when trusting is analyzed and recognized as receptivity to enhancement, we uncover important links between ethics, social theory, epistemology, ontological modeling, fiducial argumentation regarding God, and modes of religious faith, and thus realize an expanded philosophy of religion.
Godfrey develops four dimensions of trusting (reliance trust, I-thou trust, security trust, and openness trust) in the context of other philosophical approaches. The book engages, among others, Marcel Sarot, Paul Helm, and Richard Swinburne on ways of conceiving trust, James Ross and Mark Johnson on analogical meaning, Annette Baier on ethics, Russell Hardin on social and political theory, A. J. Coady and Richard Foley on epistemology, Dorothy Emmet and Gabriel Marcel on ontological modeling, and Richard Taylor, Donald Evans, Hans Küng, and Alvin Plantinga on arguments regarding God. The book then considers trust in religion, particularly in Christian theism. It delivers questions from a philosopher of religion to theologians, especially Christian theologians. Its conclusion offers a brief look at trust and evil.
Employing tools of analytic, Continental, and Thomistic philosophy, Godfrey offers a wide-ranging reflection on the nature of trust. By proposing that trust directed towards people and reliance on language and the word of others connect with the fiducial core of religion, the book is a sustained exercise in trust seeking understanding.
“Anyone interested in the concept of trust and its role in human relationships, religious experiences, and the nature of knowledge, among other related topics, cannot afford to ignore Joseph Godfrey’s extensive study. This book will have wide appeal, not only in the areas of phenomenology and existentialism, but also in theology, religious studies, and literature.” —Brendan Sweetman, Rockhurst University