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Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 2$
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David Sobel, Peter Vallentyne, and Steven Wall

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198759621

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198759621.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 September 2021

Terms of Trust

Terms of Trust

(p.208) (p.209) 8 Terms of Trust
Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy, Volume 2

Daniel Attas

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   trust, cooperation, empathy, fairness, reciprocity, prudential reasons, moral reasons

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