The civil disobedience of Edward Snowden: A reply to William Scheuerman

Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (10):965-970 (2016)
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Abstract

This article responds to William Scheuerman’s analysis of Edward Snowden as someone whose acts fit within John Rawls’ account of civil disobedience understood as a public, non-violent, conscientious breach of law performed with overall fidelity to law and a willingness to accept punishment. It rejects the narrow Rawlsian notion in favour of a broader notion of civil disobedience understood as a constrained, conscientious and communicative breach of law that demonstrates opposition to law or policy and a desire for lasting change. The article shows that, according to Rawls’ unduly narrow conception, Edward Snowden is not a civil disobedient. But, according to the more plausible, broader conception, he is. It then identifies some advantages of the broader conception in contemporary analyses of new forms of disobedience, including globalized disobedience and digital disobedience.

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Kimberley Brownlee
University of British Columbia

Citations of this work

On (Not) Accepting the Punishment for Civil Disobedience.Piero Moraro - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272):503-520.
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References found in this work

Defining Civil Disobedience.Brian Smart - 1978 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 21 (1-4):249 – 269.

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