Introductory post

Trust seems to have become such a pressing issue on many different fronts.

  • Trust in science is a big theme — if it’s not science denial and conspiracy theories, then it’s scientific misconduct and the replication crisis.

  • Trust in professions, like doctors or journalists, let alone politicians, is another ongoing issue.

  • Trust within relationships, gender and especially ‘masculinity’, which is often not seen as particularly trustworthy. The breakdown of relationships and families. All are urgent matters that have deep philosophical roots. 

Trust is also simply central to our life. Trust in teachers and parents is what allowed us an education. Trust in clients, partners, or businesses is what allows for others to pay for our services or products, and vice versa. Trust in others is what underlies intimate relationships, and families. When trust shatters, so does our world. 

However, trust is complicated. It’s not an unambiguous good. We call people “naive” when they trust even though they shouldn’t have. And yet we have no other option to trust. We also have a word for people who don’t trust when they should: paranoid.

The Coronacrisis is upending some previously held certainties, and it is no longer clear what actions are ‘naïve’ versus reasonable, or prudent versus ‘paranoid’.

The concept of trust informs an important part of my academic work. But this blog is not primarily designed for my fellow academic philosophers, but rather for contemporaries interested in intellectual matters. 

In these blog posts I’ll be taking my cue from statements circulating in the media or public debate, and either undermining these statements or trying to understand where they’re coming from. The goal is understanding not provocation, but some provocation is necessary.

Please comment or write to me directly. Preferably no nitpicking — I can’t spend ages polishing these blogs — but I do love a good debate.