Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


Northern European Journal of Philosophy

Editor-in-Chief: Addis, Mark / Hämäläinen, Nora / Pedersen, Esther Oluffa / Westphal, Kenneth R.

Managing Editor: Pedersen, Esther Oluffa

Together with Niknam, Arman Teymouri

CiteScore 2017: 0.07

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.107
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.274

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 13, Issue 2


A Kantian Conception of Trust

Esther Oluffa Pedersen
Published Online: 2012-12-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sats-2012-0009


The article traces the few but important remarks on interpersonal trust scattered in Kant’s philosophical oeuvre. Through the reconstruction of a Kantian conception of trust an alternative to contemporary philosophical theories of trust is put forward. Interpersonal trust, according to my systematic reconstruction of Kant, makes up a continuum ranging from passive, habitual trust embedded in the social environment to active, reflective placement of trust in others. The active placement of trust is closely related to the reflective ability of human reason and, as such, it involves a leap into the supersensible. However, the phenomenon of trust also highlights a pragmatic background of Kant’s otherwise pure ethical theory: Prudential considerations of reasons to trust and distrust heterogeneous agents make up a core element of interpersonal trust. The prudential and reflexive placement of trust or distrust in another agent is a decisive step in the gradual development of moral character. Thus, trust together with the related phenomena of enlightenment and education point to a process of development in individual human lives as well as in human history that may enable us to approach the ethical ideal of a kingdom of ends.

Keywords: Kant; trust; ethical theory; social cohesion

About the article

Published Online: 2012-12-18

Published in Print: 2012-12-01

Citation Information: , Volume 13, Issue 2, Pages 147–169, ISSN (Online) 1869-7577, ISSN (Print) 1600-1974, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sats-2012-0009.

Export Citation

© 2012 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co..Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in