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Keywords:

  • love;
  • morality;
  • rape;
  • torture;
  • trust

Abstract: Following the lead of Annette Baier, this essay argues that trust relations provide the ethical substance of everyday living. When A trusts B, A unreflectively allows B to approach sufficiently close so as to be able to harm A. In order for this to be possible, A practically presupposes that B perceives A as a person and will hence act accordingly. Trust relations are relations of mutual recognition in which we acknowledge our mutual standing and vulnerability with respect to one another. A robust account of trust assumes: first, trust relations are primary and practical, and while monitored by reason, they are not rationally constituted; second, trust can sustain its practical primacy over moral reason because it is developmentally prior to reason; and third, trust relations can be the bearers of our worth and vulnerability because they are the developmental products of first love.