Joseph J. Godfrey
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.
“This is the most comprehensive and sophisticated discussion of the subject to date. Godfrey’s book is well-written, the product of enormous erudition, supported by a wide range of sources, and covers several different philosophical and religious traditions. It is indispensable for anyone seeking to understand trust, whether practically or conceptually, and will surely change the way we think about the subject.” — Robert P. Crease, Stony Brook University
“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
“The subjects of trust and hope have occupied Godfrey nearly since he began teaching philosophy at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in 1976. The present book emerged, he says, from dissatisfaction with his treatment of trust in his 1987 A Philosophy of Human Hope, and the realization that available treatments are not serviceable in religious contexts, where trust is uniquely important.” — Choice
“Joseph Godfrey offers something unique in this extensive work. . . . [He] focuses on what trusting well looks like rather than advocating which religion or what God is truly worthy of trust. . . . Trust of People, Words, and God is a mature work, demonstrating years of thought and research. It is a necessary work for anyone interested in the concept of trust, regardless of religious affiliation.” — Philosophy in Review
“Godfrey’s treatment of his topic is deeply learned . . . . He excels at synthesis, finding connections between social scientists, analytic philosophers, phenomenologists, and theologians who approach the concept of trust in different ways.” — Journal of Religion