Karuna Joshi-Peters Awarded Ph.D.

The Philosophy Department wishes to congratulate Karuna Joshi-Peters on the successfully defense of her dissertation entitled “Knowing Trust: Towards an Ecology of Trust” on April 11th 2016.

Her Committee Consisted of: Dr. Ron Bontekoe (Co-Chair), Dr. Vrinda Dalmiya (Co-Chair), Dr. Arindam Chakrabarti, Dr. Ken Kipnis, and Dr. Elaine Heiby  (Outside Member – Psychology)

Karuna dissertation

Dissertation Abstract:

Trust is most usefully viewed as a relationship of trusting with cognitive, emotive and conative aspects. This requires an epistemology of trust to be responsive to all three aspects. Outlined in this dissertation is a theory of “plain trust” that is present in all manner of trustings and without which no trust can even exist. Trust is an interpersonal matter; other people matter. In order to explore human interpersonal trustings, information, ideas and metaphors from many academic disciplines are braided together in an analysis of “knowing trust”. Trust was active in cooperation among hominids who communicated gesturally employing emotional cues prior to the emergence of language and abstract thought. This indicates a knowing of trust without words and the priority of emotion in trusting. Tacit knowing has a similar structure. We know more than we can tell. Knowing trust centrally involves a knowledge of feelings. Trust begins with the instinctive bond between a child and a caregiver growing into a deep trusting when cultivated with a balance between vigilance and empathy, between rules and permissiveness. Friendship between mature people also exhibits a similar trajectory. Emphasizing the priority of emotional knowing does not decrease the role of rational thinking in human trust, but underlines the radical (root) role of emotion in trusting. Structural and functional studies of the developing and developed brain support this claim. Clear linguistic communication between trustor and trustee is critical in any relationship, but so is non-verbal communication. Vigilance towards the autobiographical self must balance scrutiny showered on acts and intentions of the other. Empathy towards the other must actively balance natural empathy towards one’s own autobiographical self. Trust is most valued as it endures within a human relationship, gathering “trustvalue” as it endures. Using the metaphor of physical balance and sustainable ecology, it is suggested that a lasting trust is most possible when a sense of shared responsibility is present. The creative tension between self-interest and altruism, between vigilance and empathy, enables the relationship of trust to procced in a hermeneutic manner over time, tracking the health of the trusting and the wealth of the trust value.

Dr. Joshi-Peters was also featured in a University of Hawaii news article (link below) https://manoa.hawaii.edu/news/article.php?aId=7890