Consensus, contracts, and committees

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16 (4):393-408 (1991)
Following a brief account of the puzzle that ethics committees present for the Western Philosophical tradition, I will examine the possibility that social contract theory can contribute to a philosophical account of these committees. Passing through classical as well as contemporary theories, particularly Rawls' recent constructivist approach, I will argue that social contract theory places severe constraints on the authority that may legitimately be granted to ethics committees. This, I conclude, speaks more about the suitability of the theory to this level of analysis than about the ethics committee phenomenon itself. Keywords: ethics committees, moral consensus, social contract theory CiteULike Connotea What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/16.4.393
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