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The Philosophy of Trust$
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Paul Faulkner and Thomas Simpson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732549

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732549.001.0001

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Betraying Trust

Betraying Trust

Chapter:
(p.70) 5 Betraying Trust
Source:
The Philosophy of Trust
Author(s):

Collin O’Neil

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732549.003.0005

Trust not only disposes us to feel betrayed, trust can be betrayed. Understanding what a betrayal of trust is requires understanding how trust can ground an obligation on the part of the trusted person to act specifically as trusted. This essay argues that, since trust cannot ground an appropriate obligation where there is no prior obligation, a betrayal of trust should instead be conceived as the violation of a trust-based obligation to respect an already existing obligation. Two forms of trust are evaluated for their potential to ground such a second-order obligation. One form counts as a gift to the trusted person only because it does not involve an expectation of trustworthiness; the other form cannot count as a gift but confers an honour because it does include an expectation of trustworthiness. Only trust that confers an honour generates a second-order obligation whose violation would be a betrayal of trust.

Keywords:   trust, trustworthiness, honour, second-person, reactive attitudes

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