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Volume 26 • Number 4

October 2012



Pre-Emptive Anonymous Whistle-Blowing

by James Rocha and Edward Song

While pretty much everyone recognizes that whistle–blowing can be morally permissible or obligatory under certain circumstances, most theorists offer accounts that are relatively conservative in their estimation of when it is allowed and are reluctant to offer a full recommendation of the practice as an important tool for addressing ethical failures in the workplace. Michael Davis, for example, contends that whistle–blowing is a "tragic" necessity that is sometimes morally required, but that is nevertheless "destructive" for everyone involved. Mike Martin takes a more positive view of the practice but nevertheless argues that the obligation to blow the whistle is only a prima facie duty that can be defeated by personal considerations, such as the worry that going public with accusations of malfeasance might threaten a person's ability to provide for her family. From this perspective, it seems overly burdensome to require that individuals blow the whistle on their work superiors and their companies when so much is at stake for them personally. Morality must have some respect for the limits of what people can be asked to sacrifice.

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Public Affairs Quarterly is published by the University of Illinois Press on behalf of North American Philosophical Publications.

ISSN: 2152-0542