Trustfulness as a Risky Virtue

Journal of Humanities (인문논총) (forthcoming)
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In this paper, I aim to shed some light on the nature and value of this neglected but important virtue of trustfulness. First, I briefly introduce the nature of trust and trust relationships and explain why they are essentially risky. Second, I examine the nature of trustfulness mainly by comparing it with other traits such as distrustfulness, gullibility, and prudent reliance. I then argue that its attitudinal element of respecting the trustee as a person—that is, respecting her as an agent capable of free choice—is what distinguishes trustfulness from other traits. I also show why trustfulness is not only intrinsically admirable but also necessary for building a harmonious community. Then I add some further remarks on trustfulness that might help better understand this virtue. Finally, I conclude this paper after addressing some possible objections.

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Sungwoo Um
Seoul National University


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