My research will investigate the nature of interpersonal and impersonal trust in the market societies. It will investigate whether our role as ‘rational’ economic agents in a capitalist free market society also influences our behaviour in other social spheres, namely our interpersonal relationships.
If it’s true, then our trust relations will change to incentive-based relations or contractual relations as it happens in economic transactions. Placing trust is redundant in relations which have legal bindings and guarantees. Further, if we are driven only by our self-interests as is the ‘rational economic agent’, if we apply the market norms in our social lives, then cooperation will cease to exist and relationships will be reduced to contracts and bargains.
In this context I would like to argue against the philosophy of ‘autonomy’ or ‘arrogant self-sufficiency’ entailing a decline in the ability to trust thus leading to individualism, solipsism (in thought), and mere isolated survival. I would therefore argue that humans are also dependent rational animals, their knowledge is also produced in the social world and therefore humans without cooperation or without the spirit of association cannot properly thrive. A proper ‘climate of trust’ is essential for the survival of the human society. The Romans used “to live” and “to be among men” and “to die” and “to cease to be among men” (‘men’ as in human beings) as synonyms, and I suggest this captures the essence of our existence.
Finally I will try to find out how we can resist the penetration of the market norms into our interpersonal trust relations. This would include a discussion on the various trust attitudes that have been theorized and discussed in the vast literature on the Philosophy of trust. I’d also assess arguments given by the defenders of non-market associationalism like Michael Walzer, Otto Neurath along with studying the arguments of Aristotle, Genovesi, Marx and Polianyi among others.
I received my degrees - B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy in 2016 and 2018 respectively from Jadavpur University, Calcutta, India.
My research is funded by School of Social Sciences PhD Studentship.