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Trust and Mistrust as Political Concepts in the History of Political Thought

Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

The concept of trust will be scrutinized across different and sometimes antagonistic genres of international political thought. The natural law tradition and reason of state tradition worked on different assumptions, but they mutually influenced each other. How have these traditions influenced the different concepts and discussions of trust-building? The programmatic theorising by eighteenth-century thinkers of trust shows that there was not just one coherent argument of trust, but that trust was placed in different conceptual contexts, in which its meaning and importance changed accordingly. Despite the ongoing search for conditions of trust between states, we are today still faced with the same structural problems.

Peter Schröder is Senior Lecturer at University College London and currently a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at CEU; he will be Research Fellow at the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at University of Erfurt from September 2016. His main research interest lies in early modern history of political thought, especially in France, England and Germany. His recent monographs include Niccolò Machiavelli, Frankfurt/Main 2004, Thomas Hobbes, Leipzig 2012, and Trust in Early Modern International Political Thought, 1598-1713 (accepted/forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in spring 2017). He is also co-editor of several books such as War, the State and International Law in Seventeenth-Century Europe, with O. Asbach, Farnham/Surrey 2010 and Research Companion to the Thirty Years War, with O. Asbach, Farnham/Surrey 2014 (selected as a 2014 Choice Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine), second revised edition 2015. He is also the German translator and editor of T. Hobbes, Behemoth or the long Parliament, Hamburg 2015.