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Paradoxes of Whistle-blowing - Essay Example

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Paradoxes of Whistle-blowing

Third, the act is required, whether or not it is moral to do so or not. The act needs to be performed because of a rational non-moral reason. In this context, whistle-blowing is morally problematic because there is confusion on whether whistle-blowing should be something morally permissible, morally required or at the other extreme morally wrong. Whistle-blowing involves revealing information that ordinarily, would not be revealed, because one is entrusted with that information. By this definition, the police officer, the criminal informant or the clerk who happens upon evidence of wrongdoing in another department, are not whistle-blowers because they have not been entrusted with the information, even if they were while working under false pretences.
According to the standard theory, whistle-blowing is permissible when an organization's product or policy is harmful to the public; when the prospective whistle-blower has identified the harm, reported such to a superior, and the superior does nothing about it; the prospective whistle-blower has done everything possible within the organization to call attention to the identified harm. Additionally, according to the standard theory, whistle-blowing is required when the prospective whistle-blower has evidence that will convince an impartial observer that the threat to public safety is correct; and when the prospective whistle-blower is convinced that revealing the threat will be able to prevent harm at reasonable cost.
Generally speaking, there appears to be nothing wrong with the standard theory, except S1 which places the burden of identification of the gravity of the threat is the judgment of the whistle-blower, as well as S5, which again puts the burden of judgment regarding reasonable cost on the shoulders of the whistle-blower..
3. Explain the three paradoxes that Davis claims the standard theory gives rise to. If you were a defender of the standard theory, how might you respond to Davis' arguments
According to Davis, the first paradox that has arisen from the standard theory is the paradox of burden. The standard theory presupposes that whistle-blowers are minimally decent individuals who blow the whistle after complying with five justifications. Actually, whistle-blowers are exemplary individuals who risk financial security and personal relations for the good of the public. The second paradox is the paradox of missing harm. According to the standard theory, the harm that justifies whistle-blowing needs to be serious and considerable in magnitude. Injustice, deception and waste are not justifications for whistle-blowing under the standard theory. The third paradox is the paradox of failure. The standard theory requires that one of the justifications for whistle-blowing is the prevention of harm. Paradoxically, if harm cannot be prevented by whistle-blowing, then it is not justified.
In defense of the standard theory, the paradox of burden is the natural result for the whistle-blower. The standard theory works on the premise that organizations, unless those which are criminal, would not deliberately seek to produce harmful products for the general public. So only in extreme cases would there be a need for whistle-blowers. Relaxing the rules would only encourage unfounded complaints and back-stabbing ...Show more


1. What makes whistle-blowing morally problematic - that is, why does it need to be justified According to Davis, why isn't the police officer, the criminal informant, or the clerk who happens upon evidence of wrongdoing in another department, a whistle-blower
Author : clarksauer
Paradoxes of Whistle-blowing essay example
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