Annette Baier is very prominent with her approach towards the understanding of trust. For her, trust is the process through which men and women get capable of creating relationships and can justify the same under social norms. Trust for Baier is a very distinctive kind of feeling and is typically inclusive of tacit beliefs depending on other's goodwill and the levels of competence. It is the formulation of trust that elaborates the truster's willingness to accept others. In some cases trust can even push the truster into dangerous conditions.
Assessment of Baier’s concept on trust has been fore-grounded over the sense of believes accounted by Baier. The context of trust and the feelings attached to it are investigated to discover the relevance of Baier’s declarations. It is here that the matters and instances related to trust has been revisited and assessed from critical point of view.
Baier investigations the issues related to the context of “how to trust.” According to her research she specifies that ‘trust’ is a kind of characteristic feature that can be cultivated in an individual, rather than letting it to be willed. She wonders if people can adopt the habit of trust on the basis of encouragements ((1986, p. 244). In her words;
“‘Trust me!’ is for most of us an invitation which we cannot accept at will—either we do already trust the one who says it, in which case it serves at best as reassurance, or it is properly responded to with, ‘Why should and how can I, until I have cause to?’”‘My Emphasis’; p. 244 (1986)
Baier clarifies that she never turned as a ‘voluntarist’ about statements for establishing definition of trust. She strictly agrees with Mills (1998) comments on trust being a motivational aspect, instead of depending over epistemic reasons. Trust for her is developmental process that gets created on automatic basis. It cannot be limited to personal wills or determined ways of reasons and thoughts. In this reference, Baier highlights the psychological status of an individual when he or she says, “I wish I could trust you.” In this statement it is clear that the speaker want to trust but he or she is unable to do so. In spite of acceptance towards the context the speaker gets handicap to trust and negates the context out of mental pressure. Baier tries to provide the existence of some power that prevents people from trusting, even if they wish to trust. The existence of this external power has been specified by an exemplified situation. In this situation, people can feel the encouragement to trust and the source that causes ‘trust’. This is a status under epistemic influence. This influence is very much inherent in people and they can utilize to ignore the external process of negation. But ignorance to this external cause of negation can create mental stress and dissatisfaction. This is the reason that though people say that they want to trust, they still cannot continue with their will.
For Baier, the process of accepting trust is ‘the bridge’ that remains under traditional divisions. These divisions are identified as cognitive, followed by affective and conative contexts.
According to the ideological aspects initiated by Baier, the concept of trust is basically instrumental to most of the people. However, it is also a constitutive part in case of relations like ‘friendship’. She also adds that ‘trust do not necessarily oppose untrustworthiness. The situations under which trust get misplaced the individual feelings get exploited. She therefore declares that the ‘feeling to trust can be also consequent to betrayal’. Moreover, she states that if sometimes it is not identified as betrayal, still gets the notion of disappointed (1986, p. 235). To be more specific, Baier distinguished disappointments as a state when the trust is in the state of ‘reliability’. When it gets deeper that the instances of betrayal get discovered.
There is a distinct demarcation led by Baier in distinguishing the base for decision making in men and women. This is something that gets contradicted by many critics. However, this difference has been drawn in terms of those trustworthy situations that are based on ethical acclamations. As Baier makes an attempt to declare the existence of external power or causes that prevents people from coming into the periphery of trust, she never supports the emotional attachment related to it. In this context, Richard Holton is specific in interpreting this point of view. He states that Baier is trying to establish that people in general cannot decide to trust, and follows spontaneity. He adds that trust is definitely not compressible under motivational purposes (1994). This is a strong point that supports Baier’s declaration and thus is noteworthy.
It has been established by Baier that people who are used to monitor and then constrain to the behaviors of other people, do not necessarily trust them. These people are also much expressive about their feelings of trust. She peruses the approaches under liberal morality and offer focus on relations that are comparatively identified as contractual. Issues of obligations, paradigmatic interactions are made integral to the purpose. On personal speculation, this particular assessment seems to be complicated ads the entire process depends on tests of emption and psychology. It is contradictory as it gets self theorized. Baier though added the essence of ethical theories to this approach, yet fails to lay emphasis over the emotional strain in human that too is very instinctive. Considering emotions in contrast to ethic is a very complicated issue and thus, I feel that it cannot be theorized. Baier forwarded rigid declarations of understanding trust. The only thing that I find critical is the process of justifying trust and ignoring the emotional aspects in the same context. No decision can be made without the approval of the emotional side and thus trust too is a subject to this analytical domain.
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Baier seems to be very comprehensive about her derivations and these derivations are justified on the basis of practical instances. For every argument, the author provides relevant examples and establishes the authenticity. She is prominent in attaching the issues of trust to the context of right as well determined instances of wrong on different systems of values. There cannot be any opposition against the declarations made by Baier. But, of course it is hard to understand the trust when she leaves no room for emotional expression. In many cases, people trust one another fron objective point of view, and the same trust turns subjective when emotions get added to it. People get indecisive about trust when they get involved in it through subjective tunnel; otherwise the matters related to trust remains constant. I feel that the approach led by Baier is about the subjective aspect rather than the objective considerations that are followed more in professional life than in personal environment.
Eventually, the declarations made by Baier can be considered as balanced and authentic. Though there are few critical arguments against her, still it will be wrong to ignore her efforts. It is just desirable to add the emotional aspect to trust for a more practical persuasion. As a whole, Baier supported each of her declarations be empirical derivations, her assessments must be considered as full proof and dependable.