Being pragmatic about trust

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Trust remains an ambiguous and contested concept. A way to help settle some of the disagreements about it is to appeal to an Explanatory Constraint, according to which trust should (a) be explained as the outcome of central concerns or interests of the relevant actors, and (b) explain the emergence and sustenance of cooperative practices and social institutions. An unrestricted, pragmatic account of trust on which the boundaries of the concept are left open can better satisfy this constraint than an account on which the boundaries of the concept are analytically restricted. To support this claim, I consider instances of the so-called Trust Game as well as cases where new social practices and institutions emerge from attempted interpersonal reliance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Philosophy of Trust
EditorsP. Faulkner, T. Simpson
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-873254-9
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • trust
  • conceptual analysis
  • explanation


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