Trust and Will

In Judith Simon (ed.), Routledge Handbook on Trust and Philosophy. New York: Routledge (2020)
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This paper treats two questions about the relation between trust and the will. One question, about trust, is whether you can trust ‘at will.’ Can you trust despite acknowledging that you lack evidence of the trustee’s worthiness of your trust? Another question, about the will, is whether you can exercise your will at all without trust – at least, in yourself. I treat the second question as a guide to the first, arguing that the role of trust in the will reveals how you can trust at will. The key lies in distinguishing two ways of being responsive to evidence. On the one hand, you cannot trust someone – whether another person or your own earlier self – whom you judge unworthy of your trust. On the other hand, trust does not require a positive assessment of trustworthiness. I thus take issue with Pamela Hieronymi’s analysis of trust as a “commitment-constituted attitude.” Your trust is indeed constrained by your responsiveness to evidence of untrustworthiness, but you need undertake no commitment akin to or involving a judgment that the trustee is trustworthy. We can see why trust is not a commitment-constituted attitude by seeing how trust itself plays a role in forming a commitment.



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Edward Hinchman
Florida State University

Citations of this work

Recent Work on Trust and Tesimony.Benjamin McMyler & Adebayo Ogungbure - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (3):217-230.

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References found in this work

Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
The Wrong Kind of Reason.Pamela Hieronymi - 2005 - Journal of Philosophy 102 (9):437 - 457.
Why be rational.Niko Kolodny - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):509-563.
Controlling attitudes.Pamela Hieronymi - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (1):45-74.
Testimony, Trust, and Authority.Benjamin McMyler - 2011 - , US: Oxford University Press.

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