Macquarie University
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Trustworthiness as a virtue

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posted on 2022-10-17, 22:26 authored by Ritsaart Willem Peter Reimann

Starting from the commonplace intuition that trustworthiness is both a trait of character and a morally praiseworthy quality, this thesis defends the position that trustworthiness is a virtue. In doing so, I show that virtue theory not only provides a viable framework for making sense of the claim that we ought to be trustworthy but moreover furnishes a uniquely rich understanding of those qualities that make us worthy of trust. Drawing attention to the idea that trustworthiness is a complex disposition that trades on acquiring a range of both moral and epistemic excellences, I proceed by arguing that these two facets of virtue theory closely track the competence and commitment conditions of trustworthiness. Thereafter, and in order to make sense of how these various elements come together in the character of the trustworthy individual, I develop an analogy between discretion and phronesis and submit that it is in virtue of discretion that a would-be trustee becomes virtuously trustworthy. In closing, I consider several implications of the situationist critique and conclude that despite the ostensibly overwhelming challenge presented by situationism, virtue theory continues to provide a viable framework for normatively rich and explanatorily powerful accounts of those qualities that make us worthy of trust.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Central themes in the philosophy of trust -- 3. Moral character and commitment -- 4. Competence and epistemic excellence -- 5. Discretion and phronesis -- 6. Conclusion -- 7. References

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, 2021

Department, Centre or School

Department of Philosophy

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Mark Alfano


Copyright: Ritsaart Willem Peter Reimann Copyright disclaimer:




60 pages