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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 60, Issue 3, September 2020

Winnie Sung
Pages 271-286

Xin: Being Trustworthy

This essay analyses the Confucian conception of xin, an attribute that broadly resembles what we would ordinarily call trustworthiness. More specifically, it provides an analysis of the psychology of someone who is xin and highlights a feature of the Confucian conception of trustworthiness: the trustworthy person has to ensure that there is a match between her self-presentation and the way she is. My goal is not to argue against any of the existing accounts of trustworthiness but to draw on Confucian insights so as to shed light on features of trustworthiness that are overlooked in current discussions. I hope to show that the Confucian conception of trustworthiness puts more emphasis on the way a trustworthy person actively tries to make sure another’s dependency on her is not unwarranted than on how the trustworthy person responds to the one who gives trust.

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