The Notion of Trust in Philosophical Psychology

  • Olli Lagerspetz
Part of the Swansea Studies in Philosophy book series (SWSP)


Trust does not fall neatly into the traditional categories of the philosophy of mind. Perhaps this is why it has not been a favourite topic of professional philosophers. Of course, this could as well be a reason why one should be interested. Admittedly, the times are changing;1 but there still seems to be a lot of confusion about how to fit trust into a more general account of human action.


Mental State Philosophical Investigation Real Pattern Favourite Topic Professional Philosopher 
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  1. 2.
    Something like this seems to be a usual view ranging from Hobbes to modern writers. See John Dunn, ‘Trust and Political Agency’, 74; Thomas Hobbes, ‘Human Nature’, in The Moral and Political Writings of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury [1750], quoted in Dunn, loc. cit., Patrick Bateson, ‘The Biological Evolution of Cooperation and Trust’, 15; Diego Gambetta, ‘Can We Trust Trust?’, 230. Baier, too, refers to at least some type of trust as a ‘mental phenomenon’, ‘Trust and Antitrust’, 235. To these writers one may add all those who characterize trust as a belief or an assumption, in so far as they accept a rather wide-spread characterization of all beliefs and assumptions as mental states.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

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  • Olli Lagerspetz

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