Health Care Analysis 25 (3):260-274 (2017)

Stephen Holland
University of York
This paper addresses two research questions. The first is theoretical: What is trust? In the first half of this paper we present a distinctive tripartite analysis. We describe three attitudes, here called reliance, specific trust and general trust, each of which is characterised and illustrated. We argue that these attitudes are related, but not reducible, to one another. We suggest that the current impasse in the analysis of trust is in part due to the fact that some writers allude to these distinctions, but unclearly so, whilst others elide them altogether. The second research question focuses on doctor–patient interaction. Trust is often said to be central in medical encounters but this strikes us as too vague. The success of doctor–patient relations in part depends on adopting the most appropriate of the three attitudes we delineate. We argue that reliance is the appropriate attitude for most medical encounters. When circumstances do require trust, the distinction between specific trust and general trust is crucial. We describe medical encounters requiring specific trust. General trust is less often required in medicine; but it is appropriate in some cases and, when called for, it is called for strongly.
Keywords Betrayal  Doctor–patient interaction  Interpersonal relations  Reliance  Trust
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10728-015-0293-z
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,079
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Trust and Antitrust.Annette Baier - 1986 - Ethics 96 (2):231-260.
Knowledge on Trust.Paul Faulkner - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Deciding to Trust, Coming to Believe.Richard Holton - 1994 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (1):63 – 76.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Trust: The Scarcest of Medical Resources.Patricia Illingworth - 2002 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 27 (1):31 – 46.
Public Trust.Cynthia Townley & Jay L. Garfield - 2013 - In Cynthia Townley & P. Maleka (eds.), Trust: Analytic and Applied Perspectives. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Trust and Trustworthiness.Stephen Wright - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (3):615-627.
Trust in Strangers, Trust in Friends.Jessica Miller - 2003 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 10 (1):17-22.
Trust and Distrust in Cpr Decisions.Barbara Hayes - 2010 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 7 (1):111-122.
Deciding to Trust, Coming to Believe.Richard Holton - 1994 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (1):63 – 76.
The Nature of Epistemic Trust.Benjamin W. McCraw - 2015 - Social Epistemology 29 (4):413-430.
Is There a Moral Duty for Doctors to Trust Patients?W. A. Rogers - 2002 - Journal of Medical Ethics 28 (2):77-80.
Christian and Secular Dimensions of the Doctor-Patient Relationship.Dana Cojocaru, Sorin Cace & Cristina Gavrilovici - 2013 - Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 12 (34):37-56.
Defining Trust and E-Trust: Old Theories and New Problems.Mariarosaria Taddeo - 2009 - International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction (IJTHI) Official Publication of the Information Resources Management Association 5 (2):23-35.


Added to PP index

Total views
23 ( #492,661 of 2,506,109 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #277,380 of 2,506,109 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes