Philosophers and the public policy process: Inside, outside, or nowhere at all?

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 15 (4):391-409 (1990)
Abstract
Three standard tasks undertaken by applied ethicists engaged in the public policy process are identifying value issues, clarifying concepts and meanings, and analyzing arguments. I urge that these should be expanded to include making specific moral judgments and advocating positions and policies. Three objections to philosophers/ethicists' engagement in the formation of public policy are advanced and evaluated: philosophers necessarily do public policy badly, doing it at all compormises one's integrity as a seeker after truth, and frequently participation is in the service of a repressive status quo that is structured simultaneously to preclude radical change and to co-opt ethicists. finally, however, I argue that those who would be ‘applied ethicists’ cannot avoid all participation in some form of a public policy process; that engagement holds the hope as well for improved ethical theory; that the preferred form of participation is frequently from outside of establishment bodies; and that wherever philosophers do involve themselves in policy formulation, this is best done in the expanded sense urged at the outset. Keywords: applied ethics, moral reasoning, public policy CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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