La semana pasada tuvimos el gran gusto de discutir en SADAF el trabajo de mi amigo Facundo Alonso "Shared Intention, Reliance, and Interpersonal Obligation" publicado en Ethics 119 (April 2009): 444–475.
Facundo es post-doctoral fellow del Law and Philosophy Institute de Yale University, luego de doctorarse en Stanford con Michael Bratman, con una tesis sobre intenciones compartidas. Es Licenciado en Economía y en Ciencias Políticas de la Universidad de Buenos Aires.
El trabajo de Facundo es una tesis que dialoga con los enfoques que consideran al "reliance" (término de no obvia traducción, tal vez "dependencia", "contar con", "basarse en") como un fenómeno puramente psicológico, o uno con características esencialmente normativas.
Reliance es un fenómeno diferente a "trust" (confianza) y también distinguible de la idea de creencia. Por ejemplo, supongamos que me encuentro en un edificio en llamas, en un piso alto. Veo una soga colgando fuera de la ventana, pero no puedo ver (por el humo) cuán bien o mal atada está. En esa situación es correcto decir que "dependo" de la soga para salvarme, aunque no pueda "confiar" en ella o aunque no tenga ninguna creencia justificada sobre la robustez de la soga, etc.
Hubo un buen intercambio de ideas y observaciones con Eduardo Rivera López, José Luis Corbí, Karina Pedace, Mariano Garreta, Marcelo Ferrante, etc.
Me quedaron dos dudas. La primera es si esté concepto de "reliance" merece tanta atención, y si no sería más productivo referir estas discusiones al concepto más difundido de confianza y de creencia. La segunda duda es acerca de la relevancia de estos estudios respecto de otras áreas del conocimiento, dentro o fuera de la filosofía.
Le trasladé esta duda a Facundo y me remitió un borrador sobre el tema, ("Aspects of Reliance", draft de agosto/2010) del que extraigo algunos pasajes:
"We think and act against a cognitive framework. We deliberate about what to believe and about what to do in light of that framework. We also plan and act on the basis of it. In many cases, such cognitive framework is constituted by our beliefs. In such cases, we deliberate, plan, and act in light of those beliefs. Nevertheless, there are some other cases in which our cognitive framework is not constituted –or, at least, is not exclusively constituted- by our beliefs. In these other cases, the relevant beliefs cannot be had or are just too hard to come by. But although in these cases a relevant belief that p is unavailable, another cognitive attitude about p that plays a similar role in framing our thought and action may instead be available. What is more, that other attitude may well be justified. That other attitude is reliance....
Reliance is a pervasive phenomenon in our lives. We rely on other people and objects not only when we lack evidence that would ground the corresponding belief. We rely on them also when we possess such evidence. In addition to relying on unfamiliar ropes to hold our weight and on flaky tango partners to do their parts, we rely on motorists to drive on the right side of the road, on the postman to deliver our mail, on strangers to give us the time when asked, on hosts to be affable, and on friends to give us a hand when needed. Forms of reliance are so deeply embedded in our lives that they sometimes go unnoticed. As I argue elsewhere, attitudes of mutual reliance lie at the metaphysical foundations of shared agency. The very possibility of our acting together requires that we rely on each other’s intentions and actions in appropriate ways.
Indeed, there are good reasons for thinking that attitudes of reliance are a condition of possibility of our individual intentional agency as well. Furthermore, forms of reliance can be important sources of obligations. We may induce other people to rely on our future conduct (or, similarly, we may reinforce other people’s reliance on our conduct) and thereby incur, under appropriate conditions, relevant obligations to them. Thus, forms of reliance are significant not only to the metaphysics of our individual and shared agency, but to the morality of our attitudes and actions as well. In addition, forms of reliance are central to the epistemology of testimony, as part of what we know about the world may seem to be the result of certain forms of reliance on others. The relevance of reliance to our lives is certainly widespread.
Despite its pervasiveness and widespread significance, the question of the nature of reliance has received only limited attention. Some philosophers have seen in the phenomenon of reliance an explanation of why promises and other transactions between individuals generate interpersonal obligations. Others have appealed to the phenomenon of reliance to elucidate, and thus establish an illuminating contrast with, the related phenomenon of trust. Accounting for
such other phenomena in terms of reliance led those philosophers to explore the phenomenon of reliance in some detail. But, unfortunately, the question of the very nature of reliance did not lie at the center of their philosophical reflections.
Other philosophers have carefully inquired into the nature of phenomena that very much resembles the phenomenon I call “reliance.” They have referred to such phenomena in terms of notions such as “acceptance,” “acceptance in a context,” “assumption,” “presumption,” “supposition,” and “committing to the truth of a proposition.” That being said, it is still a difficult question whether, by appealing to such notions, those philosophers are all trying to get at
precisely the same phenomenon I am presently calling our attention to. My own suspicion is that we are all indeed trying to get at basically the same phenomenon, though we sometimes see it in different ways.
Considerations of pervasiveness, widespread significance, and partial neglect therefore give us reason to want to investigate the nature of the phenomenon of reliance. Yet I think that there is another, perhaps more general, reason why we should investigate reliance, and thus why we should distinguish reliance from other cognitive attitudes such as belief. The reason is that, as the cases illustrated above suggest, reliance and belief seem to affect our thought and action in different ways, and they seem to make our thought and action rational under different circumstances. My thought, then, is that a careful investigation into the nature of reliance will afford us a richer picture of the ways in which we think and act, and also of the rational grounds for our so thinking and acting.
Much of what I have to say about the phenomenon of reliance overlaps in several ways with what others have said about much related phenomena –though there are, of course, important differences... My hope is to be able to provide a conceptual framework for thinking about the phenomenon of reliance in a systematic way. My thesis is that reliance is a cognitive attitude that is inextricably tied to our thought and action. In particular, I claim that reliance is an attitude that is constitutively aimed at cognitively framing such thought and action. This has important consequences. One of them is that reliance is typically causally influenced by pragmatic considerations. Another is that reliance is justified by those very same considerations.
In my view, a correct characterization of reliance requires a proper understanding both of aspects connected to the metaphysics of reliance and of aspects connected to its normativity. The former set of aspects helps us explain why reliance and belief affect our thought and action in different ways. The latter allows us to elucidate why reliance and belief make our thought and
action rational under different circumstances. A correct characterization of reliance also requires, in my view, that what we say about the metaphysics of reliance fit in the right way with what we say about its normativity..."