Terms of trust

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter analyzes trust as consisting of three elements: vulnerability, benefit, and reciprocity. The problem of trust is then presented as the idea of overcoming the “trust gap” in one of two ways: narrowing the gap, making the risks involved less worrisome, and thus encouraging cooperation on the basis of self-regarding prudential reasons; or bridging the gap, leaving the risks as they are while procuring non-prudential resources to encourage cooperation. Only the latter can be truly classified as trust. Three ways in which the gap may be bridged are specified: non-prudential reasons to reciprocate trust (empathy, fairness, and reciprocity) correspond to the three elements of trust. Finally, it is argued that confidence-building measures (guarantees, incentives, and sanctions), designed to narrow the trust gap and facilitate cooperation, may unwittingly demolish the foundations for bridging the gap. Some policy implications are tentatively proposed.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publication Oxford studies in political philosophy
EditorsDavid Sobel
PublisherOxford University Press
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameOxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 2
PublisherOxford University Press


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