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University of Windsor

Speech and Rhetorical Studies

Argument

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Demonstrating Objectivity In Controversial Science Communication: A Case Study Of Gmo Scientist Kevin Folta, Jean Goodwin May 2016

Demonstrating Objectivity In Controversial Science Communication: A Case Study Of Gmo Scientist Kevin Folta, Jean Goodwin

OSSA Conference Archive

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 ...