–“the question for me is what role does epistemology play in the desire for cooperation over reason?”—-
To frame this question a bit better:

Epistemology refers to that discipline in which we attempt to understand the means by which we eliminate ignorance, error, bias and deceit, and therefore produce what we call knowledge: that which improves our agency (ability to act).

There is however only one method of obtaining knowledge:
0) investigation (observation)
1) experience (perception)
2) free association (identity)
3) wayfinding (hypothesis) (or possibility)
4) criticism (theory)
5) survival in the market for its use (law)
6) integration (adoption into ‘metaphysical’ assumptions)

It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about a scientific theory, an engineering problem, a method of production, taking a product to market, the affect of policy on capital at different points in time, or the exploration of various mathematical relations at increasingly complex causal densities.

Most of our work has been in epistemology has been in the identification of methods of criticism (measurement) both instrumental(tools) and mental (logical). Most of my work has been in formalizing this process by completing the program that the philosophers of science in the 20th century failed to.

Humans don’t practice epistemology. Humans simply do the only thing possible: stumble upon an idea through free association, and then incrementally remove their ignorance until it fails, or … is at least sufficient to obtain what it is that they seek.

Now to answer this question … –“the question for me is what role does epistemology play in the desire for cooperation over reason?”—-

I am not sure what you are asking. My understanding is that people act rationally with the information available given their agency (abilities), the demand, risk and reward before them. GIven that it is very hard to circumvent punishment by other humans for free riding, parasitism, predation, and extermination – and given the extraordinary returns on cooperation at least over time, what we see is that unless there is a windfall available (you gain enough that no future cooperation can do better than the act of immorality) people tend to favor cooperation in almost all circumstances. This does not apply for people who have been subject to trauma , the victims of genetic defect, developmental disorders, or brain damage. And this looks like ‘the evil 3%’ of the ‘white’ population. But as a general rule, excepting outliers, then yes.