Symposium

Volume 18, Issue 1, Spring 2014

Aesthetics In The Latin American Tradition

Fiona Utley
Pages 194-214

Considerations Towards a Phenomenology of Trust

Merleau-Ponty identifies an intertwined affective state of anxiety and courage, claiming that these are one and the same thing, as a fundamental characteristic of human existence. I argue that trust, understood as phenomenologically basic, is the unity, or the something beyond, the singularly conceived states of anxiety and courage, and that trust itself cannot be conceived apart from these states. Merleau-Ponty says little, directly, about trust in his work, yet his focus on the fundamental precariousness of existence demands such an exploration. I explore how our ordinary day-to-day experience of existence is related to an intertwined affective state of anxiety and courage and how trust is operative in affective depth, in order to understand how it is we come to speak of trust not only in terms of proximity and distance, emotional depth and extension across time, but most markedly, in terms of how we see someone and what it is like to be in relation to them.