September 24, 2009

AMHERST, Mass.—Pamela Hieronymi, associate professor of philosophy at UCLA, will give a talk titled “The Reasons of Trust” on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 4:30 p.m. in Pruyne Lecture Hall of Amherst College’s Fayerweather Hall. Organized by the college’s Department of Philosophy, Hieronymi’s talk is the second event in a lecture series on the “The Philosophy and Science of Testimony.” It is free and open to the public.

According to Hieronymi, the case of testimony—of taking someone’s word for something—puts into particularly stark relief a puzzle about trust. What are the reasons for trusting someone? she asks. “If you believe what someone says because you are in possession of good evidence that she is likely to be speaking the truth, then, it seems, you are precisely not trusting her,” she explained. “But if you lack such evidence, it can seem that you are in no position to believe.” She will discuss all of these issues and the use of testimony as a tool for uncovering the reasons of trust in her talk Oct. 22. 

Hieronymi, who earned her Ph.D. from Harvard in 2000, studies our responsibility for and agency over our own minds. Her work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundations, the American Council of Learned Societies and by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This talk is made possible by the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science, established in 1983 by Carol Micken and John I. Forry ’66 to promote the study of philosophical issues arising out of new developments in the sciences, including mathematics, and issues in the philosophy and history of science.