Location

University of Windsor

Document Type

Paper

Keywords

argument, argumentation, controversy, scientific objectivity, candor, science communication, normative pragmatics, trust, GMOs, Kevin Folta

Start Date

18-5-2016 9:00 AM

End Date

21-5-2016 5:00 PM

Abstract

Scientists can find it difficult to be seen as objective within the chaos of a civic controversy. This paper gives a normative pragmatic account of the strategy one GMO scientist used to demonstrate his trustworthiness. Kevin Folta made his talk expensive by undertaking to answer all questions, and carried out this responsibility by acting as if every comment addressed to him—even the most hostile—was in fact a question in good faith. This presumption of audience good faith gave in turn his audience good reason to presume his good faith, and a situation of reciprocal distrust was transformed into one with the potential for reciprocal candor.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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May 18th, 9:00 AM May 21st, 5:00 PM

Demonstrating objectivity in controversial science communication: A case study of GMO scientist Kevin Folta

University of Windsor

Scientists can find it difficult to be seen as objective within the chaos of a civic controversy. This paper gives a normative pragmatic account of the strategy one GMO scientist used to demonstrate his trustworthiness. Kevin Folta made his talk expensive by undertaking to answer all questions, and carried out this responsibility by acting as if every comment addressed to him—even the most hostile—was in fact a question in good faith. This presumption of audience good faith gave in turn his audience good reason to presume his good faith, and a situation of reciprocal distrust was transformed into one with the potential for reciprocal candor.