Trust is widely perceived as a relationship between specific people for specific purposes. I may trust you to repay a loan but not to perform open-heart surgery on me. But there are other types of trust, including a moral commandment to put your faith in people more generally; to have confidence only in people from one’s own in-group; and to have faith in political, social, and economic institutions. These diverse forms of trust rest upon different foundations, with different consequences.


The most widely discussed forms of trust are as follows:

  • Knowledge-based or strategic trust, which is characterized by the relationship: “A trusts B to do X.” On this account, trust is the same as trustworthiness. We trust others only if we perceive them as trustworthy.
  • Moralistic (or generalized) ...
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