Rebecca Wallbank: "Puzzles of Trust"

The Higher Seminar in Aesthetics

Rebecca Wallbank, Uppsala University: "Puzzles of Trust"


Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to clarify the nature of trust in its application to aesthetics. I argue that current arguments within the literature are mistaken on this issue. Or, captured more positively, I defend a new model of trust, a new framework in which to approach the models and I clarify its application and significance in aesthetics. Through doing so I expose and resolve two puzzles of trust which emerge out of standard assumptions.

The philosophy of trust has in fact been widely neglected in aesthetics, work by Thi Nguyen is the one exception, nevertheless I disagree with his analysis. What is valuable about his discussion is that it serves to outline various trusting relations within aesthetics and emphasises the importance of trust in our aesthetic practice. Yet in addition to endorsing different models of trust, one significant point of contrast between our accounts emerges in his proposal that there is something special about aesthetic trust which we can use to shed light on the nature of trust as a whole. I interpret the data differently. I do agree that trust in aesthetic situations point to aspects of general trust which are often overlooked, but not because there is something special them and not quite in the ways he described.