Mixed Messaging On COVID-19 Can Erode Trust In Institutions

Mixed Messaging On COVID-19 Can Erode Trust In Institutions

As a philosopher studying the nature of trust and its function in institutions, I explore the analogy between trust in people and trust in institutions. Just as conflicting messages can lead us to distrust people, they can also erode the public’s trust in institutions. Philosophers tend to distinguish between two varieties of trust: practical trust and intellectual trust. Practical trust involves trusting that someone will either do something or refrain from doing it. When individuals trust one another, they expect certain things to happen; thus, trust involves a certain reliance.

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