Monday, March 5, 2012

[PL 211] Experts and Hypocrisy

Is it the case that being hypocritical undermines an expert's claim that p?

Here's an example:

If we think of Froma Harrop, a journalist and the President of the National Conference of Editorial Writers, as an expert in public discourse, then we might think that we should "tone down the rhetoric" because she says so, given that she's an expert in public discourse.

However, it seems that Harrop is being hypocritical, to some extent, because she has used inflammatory language in her columns. Does that undermine her status as an authority on public discourse? And if so, should we not believe that we should "tone down the rhetoric" just because she says so? (Although there might be other good reasons to believe that we should "tone down the rhetoric.")

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