Trusting Relationships and the Ethics of Interpersonal Action


Niker F & Specker Sullivan L (2018) Trusting Relationships and the Ethics of Interpersonal Action. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 26 (2), pp. 173-186.

Trust has generally been understood as an intentional mental phenomenon that one party (the truster) has towards another party (the trusted) with respect to some object of value for the truster. In the landmark work of Annette Baier, this trust is described as a three-place predicate: A entrusts B with the care of C, such that B has discretionary powers in caring for C. In this paper we propose that, within the context of thick interpersonal relationships, trust manifests in a different way: as a property of the relationship itself. We argue that this conceptualization has important implications for the debate over the ethics of interpersonal interventions. In particular, when trust is understood in this way, actions that would otherwise be deemed morally troubling may be permissible, or even morally desirable, on account of their role in strengthening trusting relationships.

Trust; interpersonal relations; Annette Baier; consent; maternalism

International Journal of Philosophical Studies: Volume 26, Issue 2

Publication date31/12/2018
Publication date online21/03/2018
Date accepted by journal21/01/2018
PublisherInforma UK Limited