The trust-based communicative obligations of expert authorities

Joshua Kelsall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article analyses the extent to which expert authorities have basic communicative obligations to be open, honest, and transparent, with a view to shaping strategies of public engagement with such authorities. This article is in part a response to epistemic paternalists such as Stephen John, who argue that the communicative obligations of expert authorities, such as scientists, permit the use of lying, or lack of openness and transparency, as a means of sustaining public trust in scientific authority. In this article, I elucidate John’s position and reject it. I argue that expert authorities have strong communicative obligations to be open, honest, and transparent, which are grounded in the insight that such authorities hold positions of public trust. After demonstrating how this insight undermines John’s position, I conclude the article by considering the implications regarding public engagement with expert authorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-305
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Philosophy
Volume38
Issue number2
Early online date13 Sept 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

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