Risk and trust

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Philosophical conceptions of the relationship between risk and trust may be divided into three main families. The first conception, taking its cue from Hobbes, sees trust as a kind of risk assessment involving the expected behavior of another person, for the sake of achieving the likely benefits of cooperation. The second conception of trust sees it as an alternative to calculative risk assessment, in which instead of calculating the risks of relying on another person, one willingly relies on them for other reasons, e.g., habitual, social, or moral reasons. The third conception sees trust as a morally loaded attitude, in which one has a moral expectation that one takes it to be the responsibility of the trusted person to fulfill. In the context of interpersonal relationships this attributed moral responsibility creates spheres perceived to be free of interpersonal risk, in which one can pursue cooperative aims. In this chapter, we examine how these three views account for two prima facie relationships between risk and trust, and we look at some empirical research on risk and trust that employs these different conceptions of what trust is. We then suggest some future areas of philosophical research on the relationship between trust and risk.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of risk theory : epistemology, decision theory, ethics and social implications of risk
EditorsS. Roeser, R. Hillerbrand, P. Sandin, M. Peterson
Place of PublicationBerlin
Number of pages1187
ISBN (Print)978-9400714342
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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