Towards an aspectual conception of trust

McGibbon, S 2018, Towards an aspectual conception of trust , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

The genesis of this research lies in the difficulty of modelling trust and its companion, trustworthiness. This need arose when the term trusted was introduced into the lexicon of system architecture as computer systems became firstly networked and then increasingly distributed.

In answer this research presents an aspectual conception of trust based on twentieth-century Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd's General Theory of Modal Spheres.

By general consensus trust matters a lot. It is widely described as being essential to the development and health of any functioning society, and as the foundation of interpersonal relationships. Its importance notwithstanding, trust is amorphous and notoriously difficult to define. In general usage trust is frequently conflated with adjacent concepts and terms with circular definitions. Commonly held but nonetheless deep empirical knowledge of trust readily embarrasses any claim to precise definition, whilst offering little by way of concomitant elucidation.

This is reflected in the academic literature which has largely grown alongside the increased interest in trust since the mid-twentieth century. It is replete with definitions which restrict themselves in scope or domain, and papers which adumbrate rather than illuminate. When definitions of closely neighbouring terms fail to anchor a concept it is properly the subject of philosophical examination. Any such philosophical consideration of trust must engage its inherently tacit nature. To have utility it must render coherence from the wide diversity of common usage. Dooyeweerd's philosophy is apt precisely because it meets both of these criteria.

Dooyeweerd’s General Theory of Modal Spheres is based on an irreducible ontology of mutually exclusive modal spheres. His Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea dignifies each of these spheres with its own epistemology. Dooyeweerd’s approach is used to bring to the fore the hidden cohesion in disparate accounts of trust found in the literature and from this synthesis the conception of a multi-aspectual account of trust is built and analysed.

This conception of trust is used to reconsider contemporary issues of trust “management” and trust “repair.”

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Basden, A (Supervisor) and Mohamad, MRA (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School
Depositing User: S McGibbon
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2019 12:48
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2019 15:57
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/49659

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