15 - 16 September 2014, 23:00 - 23:00
Blavatnik School of Government, 10 Merton St, Oxford, OX1 4JJ

Programme available here.

Trust is central to our social lives. We know by trusting what others tell us. We act on that basis, and on the basis of trust in their promises and implicit commitments. So trust underpins both epistemic and practical cooperation and is key to philosophical debates on the conditions of its possibility.

Trust figures centrally in these debates in at least the following two ways. First, if I have answered the question “Why trust?”, I have thereby answered the question “Why cooperate?”. But because cooperation can be rational or irrational, so too can trust. Second, trust is also embedded in a nexus of rich moral concepts. When I trust and am trustworthy, I show my respect for others; so consideration of trust opens into debates on second-personal normativity. Trust thus suggests the possibility of a unique reason for cooperation, namely a moral one. The question “Why cooperate?” becomes “What do I owe you?” or “Why should I believe you?” While the attitude of trust seems to give or respond to moral reasons for cooperation, it nevertheless also seems that we can rationally evaluate trust. This awkward conjunction—of rational evaluability and moral embeddedness—is the starting point for philosophical reflection on trust. This conference explores these and related themes.

Convenors: Tom Simpson (Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford) and Paul Faulkner (Philosophy, Sheffield)

Tuesday 16 September

  • 9:30am Registration
  • 10-11:30am Katherine Hawley (St Andrews) - Trustworthy Groups and Institutions
  • 12-1:30pm David Owens (Reading) - Trust in Speech
  • 2:30-4pm Ted Hinchman (Wisconsin) - How Might Trust Generate Second-Personal Reasons?
  • 2:30-4pm Bob Stern (Sheffield) - 'Trust is basic': Løgstrup on the Priority of Trust over Distrust

Wednesday 17 September

  • 9:30-11am Ben McMyler (Texas A&M) - Deciding to Trust
  • 11:30-1pm Paulina Sliwa (Cambridge) - Trusting Your Evidence Only
  • 2-3:30pm Philip Nickel (Eindhoven TU) - Being Pragmatic about Trust

Register for this event on the registration page.

For enquiries, please email events@bsg.ox.ac.uk

The conference is kindly supported by the MIND association.