Macquarie University
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Trust and betrayal: a conceptual analysis

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posted on 2022-03-28, 16:38 authored by Brennan Jacoby
Vulnerability to betrayal has been identified as a distinguishing feature of trust, but there has been little direct analysis of betrayal or its implications for understanding trust. A clear account of betrayal is needed for at least two reasons: to explain the distinction between trust and mere reliance; and to explicate the challenges facing trusters who have been betrayed. If it is true that when we trust we risk betrayal, then every instance of trust involves accepting that others might betray us. The risk of betrayal may fade into the background of most trusters' interactions with others, but it will feature significantly in the cognitive and affective experiences of those who have been betrayed. Betrayal can result in distrust, loss of confidence in knowing who can be trusted, and responses such as resentment and hostile emotions. These effects can inhibit trust after betrayal, but they are not always bad. Distrust, loss of confidence, resentment and hostility may prevent a victim from trusting unwisely or too quickly. That said, these effects of betrayal can also inhibit reasonable placement of trust. And yet some victims do trust after being betrayed. In this thesis I analyse trust and trustworthiness and use distinctions developed in that analysis to explain betrayal, its impact on trust, and the conceptual issues raised by trust after betrayal.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- ch. 1: Trust as a cluster concept: sect. 1: Introduction -- sect. 2: Four examples of trust -- sect. 3: Features, types, and characteristics of trust evident in the phenomena -- sect. 4: Influential approaches to the concept if trust and their limitations -- sect. 5: Trust as a cluster concept -- ch. 2: Trustworthiness, trustability, and mere reliability: sect. 1: Introduction -- sect. 2: From competence and commitment to character -- sect. 3: Supplementing trustworthiness with trustability -- ch. 3: Institutional trust and trustworthiness: sect. 1: Introduction -- sect. 2: Extending the concept of trust to institutional contexts -- sect. 3: Trustability in institutional contexts -- sect. 4: Trustworthiness in institutional contexts -- ch. 4: Betrayal: sect. 1: Introduction -- sect. 2: Betrayal phenomena -- sect. 3: A preliminary analysis of betrayal -- sect. 4: Understanding betrayal as a type of disloyalty -- sect. 5: The morality of betrayal -- sect. 6: Testing and explaining trust's vulnerability to betrayal -- ch. 5: Recovering reasonable trust after betrayal: sect. 1: Introduction -- sect. 2: Three cases of betrayed trust -- sect. 3: An account of the damages that betrayal can inflict -- sect. 4 Recovering reasonable trust after betrayal -- Conclusion -- Bibliography.


Bibliography: pages 231-238

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy

Department, Centre or School

Department of Philosophy

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Cynthia Townley

Additional Supervisor 1

Catriona Mackenzie


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Brennan Michael Jacoby 2011.




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