Matthew DENTITH

Academic Year:
2017/2018

Research Program:
NEC International

Affiliation:
Independent Scholar

Country:
New Zealand

Research project: Towards an Epistemology of Secrecy

My research will tackle a largely unexplored and neglected topic in contemporary epistemology, the concept of ‘secrecy’. Talk of secrecy, and the associated worries about the secretive behaviour of public officials, is a recurrent and vexatious topic in public discourse. Whilst not all secretive activity is sinister (since some secrecy might be necessary for the functioning of complex societies), the concern expressed in public debate about secretive behaviour is motivated either by the claim secrecy is an increasing problem in our societies, or because secrecy has always been a concern in our polities.
As such, this project has two goals: It not only fills a crucial gap in the epistemic literature, but, by finessing how we parse and analyse talk of secrecy and secrets, it will also lead to improvements in public debate about the role secrecy plays in our societies by informing our judgements about when secrets should be kept, and when we might be obliged to reveal them.