A Free Choice to Trust: An Essay on the Necessary Requirement for Freedom of Choice in Interpersonal Trust

Abstract

In everyday life we are constantly confronted with situations that we think require us to trust. Getting on the bus, depositing a check, or simply buying food from a local street vendor all seem to call upon us to trust to some degree. The suggestion that we regularly trust in these instances is fairly noncontroversial among writers on trust. Some philosophers such as Onora O’Neill have suggested that in such routine circumstances we may often find we have no choice but to trust. Others, such as Philip Pettit, have suggested we “may have no option but to make [trust] manifest.” But is it right to characterise this as trust? The central purpose of this paper will be to answer this question of whether the nature of trust allows for trusting because we have no other option

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