Trust Generating Security Generating Trust: An Ethical Perspective on a Secularized Discourse

Regina Ammicht Quinn


This text focuses on the moral character of trust. Trust is widely recognized as a morally charged concept: Values are inscribed in this concept, and its practices have moral consequences. Trust needs ethical reflection to explore what values are inscribed and if the consequences are desirable or welcome and if so for whom. The first step reflects trust’s religious biography, analyzing expressions of Gottvertrauen in early modern times und drawing the line to Erik Erikson, Wolfhart Pannenberg and Konrad Lorenz. The second step considers security’s underlying religious discourses, especially with the “Schutzmantelmadonnen” (Madonna with the cloak) which provide an elaborate security technology. The idea of multiple modernities and multiple secularities explains how present some of the late middle age ideas are within modern technologies. In a third step, an ethics of trust – how to do trust and security in a just way – is mapped out with its crucial “points to consider” a field where different rationalities are present. The Coda finally rescues the reputation of the “trust and security theater” – as an ethically relevant and needed act and action.


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