Living in an Impossible World: Real-izing the Consequences of Intransitive Trust

Christianson, Bruce
December 2013
Philosophy & Technology;Dec2013, Vol. 26 Issue 4, p411
Academic Journal
Many accounts of online trust are based upon mechanisms for building reputation. Trust is portrayed as desirable, and handing off trust is easier if trust is modelled to be transitive. But in the analysis of cyber-security protocols, trust is usually used as a substitute for certain knowledge: it follows that if there is no residual risk, then there is no need for trust. On this grimmer understanding, the less that users are required to trust, the better. Involuntary transitivity of trust becomes corrosive, because it prevents participants from having control—or even knowledge—of the risks to which their trust assumptions expose them. In this paper, we take the stance that controlling the transitivity of trust requires us to recognise trust as a non-referentially transparent modality, similar to but significantly weaker than the epistemic modalities, and to accept the corollary that imaginary (indeed—even impossible) threats can have real consequences that adversely affect online security. An apparently paradoxical outcome is that the desire of principals to keep their trust assumptions private can actually assist the design of systems to satisfy multiple security agendas. However, this approach requires agents to have the capability to predicate accurately about states of affairs that are logically inconsistent with their beliefs, and consequently, designing systems in this way becomes more akin to diplomacy than engineering.


Related Articles

  • CAN'T BUY Trust. Viuker, Steve // Banking New York;Jul/Aug2012, Vol. 23, p16 

    The article stresses the role of good customer relations in the success of the banking industry. Topics discussed include the need for the bank to maintain its reputation with customers through involvement with communities and philanthropy, customers' preference for bank transparency and...

  • Branding China: The Ultimate Challenge in Reputation Management? Loo, Theresa; Davies, Gary // Corporate Reputation Review;Fall2006, Vol. 9 Issue 3, p198 

    A good reputation can enhance the competitiveness of a nation and its corporate/product brands. As China �goes global�, it is important that it manages its reputation, its nation brand, and shapes how it is viewed in the international arena. Ten challenges facing the branding of China...

  • Logic and modal intuitions. Tidman, Paul // Monist;Jul94, Vol. 77 Issue 3, p389 

    Argues that logic does not provide a non-mysterious, intuition-free, modal epistemology. Existence of inconsistent propositions; Doubts expressed on epistemic independence of appeals to logical consistency; Modal beliefs and intuitions as underlying judgments about consistency.

  • Effects of attention manipulation on judgments of duration and of intensity in the visual modality. Casini, Laurence; Macar, Francoise // Memory & Cognition;Nov98, Vol. 25 Issue 6, p812 

    Investigates the effects of attention manipulation on judgments of duration and of intensity in the visual modality. Methodology used to conduct this study; Information on the use of an instructional manipulation to vary how subjects allocate attention resources; Results and discussion of the study.

  • The Principle-Based Conception of Modality: Sullivan's Question Addressed. Peacocke, Christopher // Mind;Oct98, Vol. 107 Issue 428, p847 

    Opinion. Addresses the question pertaining to the Modal Extension Principle, which is described to be at the center of the approach to metaphysical modality. Reference to `Metaphysical Necessity: Understanding, Truth and Epistemology'; Details on the Modal Extension Principle.

  • A genuine realist theory of advanced modalizing. Divers, John // Mind;Apr99, Vol. 108 Issue 430, p217 

    Argues that genuine modal realism can not accommodate the principles of modal ubiquity. Analysis of modal theory principles; Redundancy interpretation of advanced possibility claims; Insights of genuine realists on the scope and limitations of the advanced modal claims.

  • Reputation death, Part 4: Me-first sellers finish last. McCarty, Steven // Senior Market Advisor;Mar2012, Vol. 13 Issue 3, p32 

    The article presents the fourth part in the series on reputation death, with this installment focusing on greed or me-first selling. The author cites the 1987 movie "Wall Street" in which he dismisses the main character's view justifying greed, asserting that it destroys judgment and trust, and...

  • The Emergence of Trust Networks under Uncertainty--Implications for Internet Interactions. Cheshire, Coye; Cook, Karen S. // Analyse & Kritik;Dec2004, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p220 

    Computer-mediated interaction on the Internet provides new opportunities to examine the links between reputation, risk, and the development of trust between individuals who engage in various types of exchange. In this article, we comment on the application of experimental sociological research...

  • Public trust is a precious commodity. Dring, Alan // Mortgage Strategy;2/11/2008, p28 

    The author reflects on the public trust for politicians in Great Britain. He asserts that people lost their trust due to politician's abuse of power, funding scams, fiddled expenses and domestic assaults. He agrees to the saying that reputations are developed for years but destroyed for a couple...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics