The Metaphysics of Trust


I argue against the claim that the fundamental form of trust is a 2-place relation of A trusting B and in favour of the fundamental form being a 4-place relation of A, by ψ-ing, trusting B to φ. I characterize trusting behaviour as behaviour that knowingly makes one reliant on someone doing what they are supposed to do in the collaborative enterprise that the trusting behaviour belongs to. I explain how trust is involved in the following collaborative enterprises: knowledge transfer – i.e. telling someone something; maintaining a relationship; and passing responsibility for an action on to someone else. And I finish by showing how our talk of trust in non-collaborative contexts – e.g. trusting a branch to support one’s weight – may be explained by reference to the central sort of collaborative trust.

Author's Profile

Rowland Stout
University College Dublin


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