Trust: A Very Short Introduction
In this Very Short Introduction, Katherine Hawley explores the key ideas about trust and distrust. Considering questions such as 'Why do we value trust?' and Why do we want to be trusted rather than distrusted?', Hawley raises issues about the importance of trust in both the personal and public spheres, including family and relationships as well as politics and society.
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Questions for Thought and Discussion
- Have you ever received more trust than you wanted, or perhaps more than you felt you deserved? What would you have preferred, in that situation?
- Why is it so hurtful, or offensive, to tell someone that you do not trust him or her? How do we avoid having to say this?
- Is it easier to forgive people when they are untrustworthy due to their incompetence, or untrustworthy due to their insincerity?
- Would it be better if there was more trust in public life?
- What challenges are involved in teaching children how to be trustworthy, and how to become wise trusters?
- What can the artificial ‘trust games’ discussed in chapter 4 tell us about ordinary social interactions?
- Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted, or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?
- In what ways is self-knowledge important for trustworthiness? Can there be such a thing as too much self-knowledge?
- How confident are you in your own lie-detecting skills? What strategies do you rely on when judging other people’s honesty?
- Is self-trust a kind of trust?
- Does online communication generate brand-new problems of trust and trustworthiness, or simply magnify pre-existing problems?
- Is it really true that we do not trust journalists?
- Do you think that different nations, or different institutions, can genuinely trust one another, or is this simply a metaphor?
- Is trust easier or more difficult to generate in personal relationships, or with respect to institutions?
- Is trustworthiness more important than other virtues? Are there situations in which other, more important values outweigh the importance of keeping promises or telling the truth?
- Ian Leslie, Born Liars: Why We Can’t Live Without Deceit, (Quercus 2011)
- Marek Kohn,Trust: Self-Interest and the Common Good, (Oxford University Press 2008)
- Janet Radcliffe Richards, Human Nature After Darwin: A Philosophical Introduction, (Routledge 2000)
- Onora O’Neill, A Question of Trust, (Cambridge University Press 2002)
- Adam Morton, A Guide Through the Theory of Knowledge, 3rd edition (Blackwell 2003)