Three Varieties of Faith
Talk presented at Invited Symposium of the Pacific APA (Apr 2015) and Fall Conference, Project on the Nature and Value of Faith (Nov 2014)
In this paper (2014), Ryan Preston-Roedder discusses three varieties of faith that a virtuous person has in people: faith in herself, faith in people to whom she bears certain special relationships, and faith in humanity.
Non-religious ethics has devoted relatively little attention to the nature and significance of faith. Perhaps this is unsurprising: the significance of faith is typically associated with theism, and so it may seem that a study of faith has little to offer non-religious ethics. But, whether or not theism holds, certain kinds of faith are centrally important virtues, that is, character traits that are morally admirable or admirable from some broader perspective of human flourishing.
Coming to understand the nature of these forms of faith and the roles that they play in human life promises to deepen our understanding of aspects of moral life and aspects of human flourishing that are poorly grasped. Beyond this, it makes valuable contributions to the recent literature on self-trust and on epistemic partiality in friendship, and it helps us clarify, to some degree, the relation between our epistemic and practical ideals.