The topics of trust and loneliness have received much attention in recent years, with complaints about a general decline of trust and an alleged epidemic of loneliness, and individualization has often been used as an explanation for both phenomena. There is in fact a strong correlation between low levels of trust and high levels of loneliness both on the level of individuals and nation states. Are members of liberal, individualistic societies especially prone to suffer from loneliness and low trust? The general trajectory of the lecture will be as follows: I start by outlining the concept of individualization. I then move on to discuss loneliness and trust. Finally, we return to the individual, and take a closer look at whether individualism is an important cause of a decline in trust and increase in loneliness.
Lars Frederik Händler Svendsen is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Bergen, Norway. He gained his PhD in 1999 with Kant’s Critical Hermeneutics. On Schematization and Interpretation. He is the author of several books, including Å forstå dyr (2018, Understanding Animals. Philosophy for Dog and Cat Lovers, 2019); Ensomhetens filosofi (2015, A Philosophy of Loneliness, 2017, in German: 2016); Frihetens filosofi (2013, A Philosophy of Freedom, 2014); Work (2008); Frykt (2007, A Philosophy of Fear, 2008); Mote. Et filosofisk essay (2004, Fashion. A Philosophy, 2006); Ondskapens filosofi (2001, A Philosophy of Evil, 2001) and Kjedsomhetens filosofi (1999, A Philosophy of Boredom, 2005, in German 2002). And most recently Løgnens filosofi (2020, A Philosophy of Lying).