South East Branch
In this paper, I advocate that university education has at its core a mission to enable its communities of scholars (staff and students) to make judgements on what can be trusted, and that they, themselves, should be truth-tellers. It is about society being able to rely upon academic statements, avoiding deliberate falsehoods. This requires both trust in oneself to make those judgements, an obligation to do so and the courage to speak out when such judgements might be unpopular, risky and potentially unsafe. At a time of complexity, as O’Neill (2002: 6) points out, since trust can ‘require a watertight guarantee of others’ performance’ it might be wrong to expect that certain standards are to be maintained by our credentialed and appointed truth-tellers. I suggest it should be a duty placed on academics to be truth-tellers and to educate potentially gullible others in what it is to have worthy and reliable self-trust in their own judgements.
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