The Philosophy of Trust Immanuel Kant and Cameron Jordan

Mistrust and suspicion are on the increase in our society; and confidence in our institutions is in decline. To understand why a “crisis of trust” is so serious, we must take account of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, who placed honesty and trustworthiness at the heart of his theory of how we should live.
During his lifetime Kant produced some of the most profound works of philosophy ever written, in metaphysics and aesthetics as well as in ethics, and is generally regarded as the most important philosopher since Aristotle. He wrote several works of moral philosophy, but the best-known is the short but enormously influential Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals (1785), which has inspired many contemporary philosophers, including Onora O’Neill. His influence can also be seen in the wider world, in the everyday recognition of the moral importance of informed consent and of human dignity.
The most important features of Kant’s ethical theory are his conceptions of human worth, and of the ideal moral community. Kant believes that all people have absolute value, or dignity, because they can be autonomous and rational, and that they should be treated in ways that recognize these capacities. Kant gives two accounts of how to treat other people. First, he thinks that when you decide what to do, you should act on a principle that others could adopt and act on; you should not treat yourself as an exception to the rule. This is Kant’s version of the Golden Rule, “do as you would be done by” that is found in many different religious and ethical systems.
Secondly, Kant thinks that you must not use other people in ways to which they could not consent. You ought to respect others; you should not use or manipulate them simply as a means to benefit yourself. People should be treated as having dignity, as “ends”, not merely as means. Kant develops a picture of the ideal moral community using this conception of how people should be treated. The ideal community is a “kingdom of ends” in which people are never merely used by others, and no one acts on principles to which others could not consent.
According to Kant’s system, there are certain ways of acting that are always wrong, categorically wrong for any person, at any time, in any society. For example, it is always wrong to make a false promise, a promise which you do not intend to keep. When you make a false promise, you are acting on a principle that could not be adopted by everyone. It is absolutely impossible for everyone to adopt and act on a principle of making false promises; if everyone did, no one would trust anyone else, or believe that they would honor their promises. False promising would be impossible, because no one would accept your promise. When you make a false promise, you are relying on other people honestly keeping their promises; you are treating yourself as an exception.
I am a firm believer in the theory that we are as culpable for the pain we experience when we are let down by the false promises of others. Too many times we tend to endow people with those qualities we wish them to have instead of looking objectively at the qualities they actually possess. Our dissapointment always seems to stem from a failing of others to live up to the expectations we have created inside of our own minds about how things will be done and when and how those events will make us feel about ourselves. Isn’t that what love is? “How a person makes us feel about ourselves when we are with them”

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7 comments
  1. Hmm, I think I believe in most of what you say here about Kant. Very good indeed.

  2. CJ said:

    Thanks Inky

  3. Randy said:

    Well said!

  4. I have known Cameron for many many years and she is without question the smartest and funniest girl I know. This post was not written due to some aching need to comment on Kant it was written as an indictment of something or someone who has not been truthful and was definitely pointed at someone! Whoever you are may God have mercy on your soul! Brilliant Cameron let's hope whoever this arrow was directed at both read and was smart enough to understand it

  5. Mark is just lusting after that dessicated flower she calls her virginity. This is the kind of fucking coward that trolls liberal blogs posting one liner parroted from right wing talk radio, under names like "Wunderblunder". That's called being a coward, Cameron.Glad to see you like Kant. You seem to have missed the point. Naive realism is the greatest evil. But that's a teabagger for you. Then never seem to quite comprehend that most the people they lionize- from founding fathers to Kant- would loathe them.

  6. CJ said:

    Let me introduce you to the theory of construal as it relates to politics. Success in understanding and predicting political behavior does not depend on being able to detect differences in people’s ethical values but rather in how those same people construe the events of the day. Roosevelt understood this concept …he had too in order for the American people to bite off the income transfer types of programs like SSI. Orwell red flagged this idea when he told us that the people who control the news and media also control the way the events of the day are construed. Acceptance of a policy idea depends ultimately on how the issue is framed which impacts how it is construed and accepted (or not) The Tea Party is a perfect example of how the political force from the left have attempted to frame the issue and their choices of derogatory language to describe this movement has been pointed towards how the movement is construed. People from both sides of the political spectrum are guilty of false consensus bias although those from the left seem to suffer from it more since they tend to be much less tolerant of divergent viewpoints than those on the right and as a result tend to do everything in their power to silence those views (like blocking certain viewpoints from being posted …Hmmmm) There are 3 major ideas in naive realism Kari … you guys never consider anything beyond your assumption that everyone shares your perspective (and the subjective experiences that impact your construal has on those perspectives). Stopping without considering that there may be other perspectives out there leads people to make errors in judgment. When people on the left are exposed to a different viewpoint apart from their own that they consider to be normal and universally shared they immediately assume those people are either lazy or stupid or biased which distorts their viewpoint. Naive realism can be evil but it isn’t inherently either good or evil on it’s ownyou subscribe to the more plebian illusion of naive realism Were you suggesting that I am the wunderbluder poster? You should know by now that I am not capable of a one line comment on anything … sorry perhaps if you weren't actively blocking me from posting you wouldn't have these concerns …but I assure you it isn't me trolling your left wing blog or forum. naive realism could be a term that describes the highly sanitized BO forum…

  7. Pila said:

    Kari,The only reference anyone here (including Kant) has made to virginity is you (Laurell K. Hamillton anyone?). Also, I imagine your "flower" is neatly pressed between your FUPA and your hairless balls (although I imagine Rosie Odonnell has made at least one effort to make you take your cherry).I will forgive your errors in syntax, grammar and punctuation, but only because of the pity I feel for people that write paragraphs about themselves:"BlueOregon is the brainchild of Kari Chisholm, who says he helped launch it because, "well, it seemed like something I wanted to read." Once a political campaign hack, Chisholm now runs Mandate Media, a consulting firm that does "internet strategy for people changing the world." His personal blog covers Politics & Technology. In 1999-2001, Chisholm was the volunteer board chair of X-PAC, a nonpartisan group that sought to build a new generation of political leaders and community activists in Oregon."-Kari Chisholm

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