Vulnerability and Trust: Special Issue

Vulnerability and Trust: Special Issue

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  • December 18, 2020
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Annette Baier  famously argued that a distinguishing mark of trust, as opposed to mere reliance and other attitudes in its neighbourhood, is that to trust is to accept vulnerability to another’s will. In trusting someone you put yourself in their power to some extent, and in doing so, risk being harmed if they do not take seriously the ethical demands of having that power. In her ground-breaking article almost a quarter of century ago, Baier also announced that ‘What we now need to do, to get any sense of the variety of forms of trust, is to look both at varieties of vulnerability and at varieties of grounds for not expecting others to take advantage of it’.

This special issue attempts to go some way towards meeting this need. The articles address issues arising from four aspects of the relationship between vulnerability and trust:

  1. how to characterize the affective nature of trust;

  2. how to explain the ethical demands that arise from deliberately making yourself vulnerable by trusting someone;

  3. the application of this to the question of the epistemic vulnerability involved in communication;

  4. trust and distrust of sources of knowledge in society.