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Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 10, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2003

Fiduciary Ethics

Jessica Miller
Pages 17-22

Trust in Strangers, Trust in Friends

Recent literature on trust commonly contains the claim that the trust which characterizes intimate relationships is a different phenomenon altogether from the trust that characterizes professional and other sorts of non-intimate relationships. In this paper I argue that while there are important differences among kinds of trust, an invidious distinction between trust in strangers and trust infriends is not only unwarranted but it obscures the fundamentally affective and relational base of all forms of interpersonal trust. In this essay I construct an account of interpersonal trust, which recognizes the similarities that pervade its different forms. Without such a complex approach, we lose theoretical sight not only of key features of trust, but of the relationship of trust to significant dimensions of human existence.

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