Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy

Ed. by Feger, Hans / Dikun, Xie / Ge, Wang

See all formats and pricing
More options …

25 The Ethics of Whistleblowing

A Justifiable Act of Global Civil Disobedience or a Misconstruction of the Global Public?

Henning Hahn
Published Online: 2016-07-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/yewph-2016-0027


In this paper I outline a critical justification of the practice of political whistleblowing as exemplified by the case of Edward Snowden. At first, I argue that the question of justifiability cannot be settled with regard to absolutely binding principles such as special loyalties or the categorical duty to inform fellow citizens. What is required instead is the careful weighing of all relevant consequential and deontic reasons. However, this weighing process has to be publically justified. I will therefore turn to the theory of civil disobedience which provides us with two roots of public justification: widely accepted constitutional values and the primacy of public deliberation. In this view, political whistleblowing is to be seen as a special case of civil disobedience and can be justified along the lines of both liberal and republican approaches. However, in the end of the paper I will indicate that we have to transcend the state-based model of civil disobedience. Snowden’s acts of whistleblowing have a further cosmopolitan intention and need to be justified in terms of avant-garde principles of global justice.

About the article

Published Online: 2016-07-27

Published in Print: 2016-07-25

Citation Information: Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy, Volume 2016, Issue 1, Pages 318–334, ISSN (Online) 2196-5897, ISSN (Print) 2196-5889, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/yewph-2016-0027.

Export Citation

© 2016 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in