Cover image for Dilemmas of trust
Dilemmas of trust
Govier, Trudy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Montreal ; Ithaca, N.Y. : McGill-Queen's University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
ix, 241 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1370 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF575.T7 G68 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Trust facilitates communication, love, friendship, and co-operation and is fundamentally important to human relationships and personal development. Using examples from daily life, interviews, literature, and film, Govier describes the role of trust in friendship and in family relationships as well as the connection between self-trust, self-respect, and self-esteem. She examines the reasons we trust or distrust others and ourselves, and the expectations and vulnerabilities that accompany those attitudes. But trust should not be blind. Acknowledging that distrust is often warranted, Govier describes strategies for coping with distrust and designing workable relationships despite it. She also examines situations in which the integrity of interpersonal relationships has been violated by serious breaches of trust and explores themes of forgiveness, reconciliation, and the restoration of trust. By encouraging reflection on our own attitudes of trust and distrust, this fascinating book points the way to a better understanding of our relationships and ourselves.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Seeking to show how and why trust makes personal and social life possible, Govier, an independent philosopher and author of Social Trust and Human Communities (CH, May'98) clarifies virtually everything about the concept and attitude of trust in interpersonal relationships, including family and self-trust. Her clear, direct, and nontechnical prose ranges from the prosaic to the interesting, and even the poignant, and her work advances understanding of the subtleties and place of trust in contemporary moral philosophy. Govier cites the Rogerian case of Ellen West to demonstrate the effects of lack of self-trust. She discusses the devastating loss of trust depicted in the movie Music Box, about a trusting lawyer-daughter's shattering experience upon discovering her father's complicity in Nazi war crimes. She carefully examines ways that distrust can impede personal growth and maturity, showing strategies for coping with distrust, and perhaps for restoring it. Much of her work is impressive, but this reviewer finds fault with her skimpy or dismissive treatment of "forgiveness and reconciliation" when she cites some unnamed Holocaust survivors who, she claims, have forgiven Nazi tormentors even in the absence of the victimizer's repentance or admission of wrongdoing. No reference to Seligman's seminal book The Problem of Trust (CH, Mar'98.) Recommended for undergraduates and practitioners. A. S. Rosenbaum Cleveland State University

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Why Trust?p. 3
Chapter 2 the Focus of Friendshipp. 21
Chapter 3 Trust and the Familyp. 50
Chapter 4 Problems of Irust in Familiesp. 73
Chapter 5 Self-Trustp. 87
Chapter 6 Self-Trust, Self-Respect, and Self-Esteemp. 99
Chapter 7 Reasons for Trust and Distrustp. 119
Chapter 8 Distrust and Its Discomfortsp. 139
Chapter 9 Restoring Trustp. 165
Chapter 10 Forgiveness and Reconciliationp. 183
Chapter 11 Dilemmas of Irustp. 204
Notesp. 213
Bibliographyp. 231
Indexp. 239