Trust, Autonomy, and the Fiduciary Relationship

In Paul Miller & Matthew Harding (eds.), Fiduciaries and Trust: Ethics, Politics, Economics, and Law. Cambridge, UK: pp. 74-86 (2020)
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Abstract

Some accounts of the fiduciary relationship place trust and autonomy at odds with one another, so that trusting a fiduciary to act on one’s behalf reduces one’s ability to be autonomous. In this chapter, we critique this view of the fiduciary relationship (particularly bilateral instances of this relationship) using contemporary work on autonomy and ‘relational autonomy’. Theories of relational autonomy emphasize the role that interpersonal trust and social relationships play in supporting or hampering one’s ability to act autonomously. We argue that fiduciary relationships, understood through the lens of relational autonomy, can provide a means of enhancing, rather than diminishing, beneficiaries’ autonomy.

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Author Profiles

Carolyn McLeod
University of Western Ontario
Emma Ryman
University of Western Ontario

Citations of this work

Trust.Carolyn McLeod - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
My Relational Autonomy and My Relationship with Susan Sherwin.Carolyn McLeod - 2020 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 13 (2):9-11.

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