SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Trust and Roles
(Political Philosophy, )

Predominantly philosophical canon understands trust to be situated in a closed truster-trustee dyadic arrangement, governed by norms of trust and trustworthiness (Jones, 2017, pp. 102-107). Social norms and normative standards are understood to play marginal and indirect part (Hardin, 1997, p.38). This understanding would find it hard to make sense of two aspects of our practice of trusting, namely, (i) why betrayals in certain closed dyadic arrangements leave an impact not only on the truster, but on the entire society, and (ii) why trust is more intense and significant in certain aspects of life than others.

This paper recognizes these two aspects in our practice of trusting and seeks to explain trust in its embeddedness in the social reality. I argue that norms of trust interact with social norms and a comprehensive understanding of trust commands our attention to its embeddedness in various social relationships. I turn to a structural view of society where social positions are recognized as roles in a social division of labour (Seligman, 2000, p. 7), and social relations as role-relations. Trust, in this view, is understood as embedded in role-relations. Role identification provides context to trust interactions, and allows understanding of associate expectations that accompany trust.

The first section offers a new understanding of roles and role-relation following MacIntyre's (1981) notion of internal and external goods. The second section suggests the advantages of recognizing roles in the practice of trusting. The third section discusses the assumptions and implications of the role-based framework of trust. In the last section I compare my account with Hawley's (2019) account and will state how the two differ in important respects. The conclusion demonstrates how this account is able to explain the two aspects mentioned above.


Hardin, R. (1996). Trustworthiness. Ethics, 107(1), 26--42.

Hawley, K. (2019). How To Be Trustworthy. Oxford University Press.

Jones, K. (2017). ``But I Was Counting On You!'' In P. Faulkner & Thomas W. Simpson (Eds.), The Philosophy of Trust. Oxford University Press.

MacIntyre, Alasdair. (1981). After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. University of Notre Dame Press.

Mullin, A. (2005). Trust, Social Norms, and Motherhood. Journal of Social Philosophy, 36(3), 316--330.

Seligman. Adam B. (2000). The Problem of Trust. Princeton University Press.

Walker, M. U. (2006). Moral Repair: Reconstructing Moral Relations after Wrongdoing. Cambridge University Press.

Chair: Marlene Maislinger
Time: 12:00-12:30, 10 September 2021 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.007
Remark: (Online Talk)

SuddhaSatwa GuhaRoy 
(University of Manchester, United Kingdom)

Suddhasatwa received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Philosophy from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. He spent the Spring Semester of 2017 as a Visiting Student at Babes-Bolyai University, Romania, with the Erasmus Scholarship.

Currently he is a second year PhD student in Philosophy at the University Of Manchester, UK. He is a recipient of School of Social Sciences Scholarship and the university's President's Doctoral Scholar Award. Researching on characteristics of personal and impersonal trust in market societies he is investigating to what degree the norms and rules of the market are compatible with the idea of trust in the private and public spheres of interaction.

Testability and Meaning deco