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Speaking Truth to Power - A Theory of Whistleblowing

  • Daniele Santoro
  • Manohar Kumar

Part of the Philosophy and Politics - Critical Explorations book series (PPCE, volume 6)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Daniele Santoro, Manohar Kumar
    Pages 1-7
  3. Daniele Santoro, Manohar Kumar
    Pages 9-53
  4. Daniele Santoro, Manohar Kumar
    Pages 83-121
  5. Daniele Santoro, Manohar Kumar
    Pages 123-149
  6. Daniele Santoro, Manohar Kumar
    Pages 173-179
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 181-190

About this book

Introduction

Whistleblowing is the public disclosure of information with the purpose of revealing wrongdoings and abuses of power that harm the public interest. This book presents a comprehensive theory of whistleblowing: it defines the concept, reconstructs its origins, discusses it within the current ethical debate, and elaborates a justification of unauthorized disclosures. Its normative proposal is based on three criteria of permissibility: the communicative constraints, the intent, and the public interest conditions. The book distinguishes between two forms of whistleblowing, civic and political, showing how they apply in the contexts of corruption and government secrecy.

The book articulates a conception of public interest as a claim concerning the presumptive interest of the public. It argues that public interest is defined in opposition to corporate powers and its core content identified by the rights that are all-purposive for the distribution of social benefits.  

A crucial part of the proposal is dedicated to the impact of security policies and government secrecy on civil liberties. It argues that unrestrained secrecy limits the epistemic entitlement of citizens to know under which conditions their rights are limited by security policies and corporate interests. When citizens are denied the right to assess when these policies are prejudicial to their freedoms, whistleblowing represents a legitimate form of political agency that safeguards the fundamental rights of citizens against the threat of unrestrained secrecy by government power.

Finally, the book contributes to shifting the attention of democratic theory from the procedures of consent formation to the mechanisms that guarantee the expression of dissent. It argues that whistleblowing is a distinctive form of civil dissent that contributes to the demands of institutional transparency in constitutional democracies and explores the idea that the way institutions are responsive to dissent determines the robustness of democracy, and ultimately, its legitimacy. What place dissenters have within a society, whether they enjoy personal safety, legal protection, and safe channels for their disclosure, are hallmarks of a good democracy, and of its sense of justice.    

Keywords

Civil Disobedience and Constitutional Liberties Comprehensive theory of whistleblowing Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers Democratic Function of Dissent Dissent and Democracy Edward Snowden Freedom of Speech Government accountability Justification of Whistleblowing Legitimate and deviant forms of dissent NSA surveillance program Political whistleblowing Threat of Secrecy Wikileaks and Edward Snowden

Authors and affiliations

  • Daniele Santoro
    • 1
  • Manohar Kumar
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Ethics, Politics, and Society, ILCHUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Social Sciences and HumanitiesIndraprastha Institute of Information Technology, DelhiNew DelhiIndia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90723-9
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-90721-5
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-90723-9
  • Series Print ISSN 2352-8370
  • Series Online ISSN 2352-8389
  • Buy this book on publisher's site