The Philosophy Of Trust Essay

1282 words - 5 pages

Trust plays a vital role in the lives of humans as it is the pathway to founding and maintaining a good, morally mature society. Whether it is trusting another in team sports, friendship, or just for help and guidance, trust is able to increase the strength of the bond between any amount of people. Although we rely on our trust for another to see through to a desirable result, we are in fact risking what we are entrusting to another, and it is probable that our trust is taken advantage of and lead to betrayal. Why this is the cause and what action should be taken to minimise betrayal has been explored by many philosophers such as Plato, Thomas Hobbes and David Hume.
Annette Baier (1929-), defined that “Trusting can be betrayed, or at least let down, and not just disappointed” (1986, p. 235). An example being we can rely on our clock to give the time, but we do not feel betrayed when it breaks, thus, we cannot say that we trusted it; we are not trusting when we are suspicious of the other person, because this is in fact an expression of distrust (McLeod 2006)
Since trusting requires one to remain vulnerable to another, in that the trustor is letting the trustee look after a valued possession of the trustor, there is the risk that the trustee will not follow through. What hinders the trustee in actually taking the action of betrayal lies in human nature. In his book, ‘The Republic’, Plato (427-347 BC) proposes that it is in the nature of man that fear of detection and punishment can prevent him from exploiting the use of evil for self interests [ref], a view also supported by Hobbes. This is an ideal criterion where one should only trust someone if they have that fear. Since the trustee fears the punishment that will be placed upon him, he will not take advantage of the situation and undertake betrayal. Although this is the case, there is the chance that detection and punishment is not enough to stop betrayal.
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) suggested ways in combating against the act of betrayal and why it is that man betrays. He said that it is in man’s nature to pursuing his desires in a passionate sense combined with the fear of detection and punishment if betraying. But in the state of nature, as described in Hobbes’ ‘Leviathan’, there are no laws, meaning no punishment, so man would have no fear in performing betrayal. It was assumed that since man lusts for things that are either scarce, he cannot get the whole amount of what he wants, or relative, if one has more of an item then others have less of it, man must view each other as enemies, and therefore lead to distrust in each other. Hobbes states that “there is no way for any man to secure himself so reasonable as anticipation, that is, by force or wiles to master the persons of all men he can” [ref]. He says that the best way to prevent others from pursuing after the things one wants, is to anticipate that the others will attack and so one must be prepared for that. By attacking them, or...

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