The most widely debated conception of democracy in recent years is deliberative democracy--the idea that citizens or their representatives owe each other mutually acceptable reasons for the laws they enact. Two prominent voices in the ongoing discussion are Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson. In Why Deliberative Democracy?, they move the debate forward beyond their influential book, Democracy and Disagreement.What exactly is deliberative democracy? Why is it more defensible than its rivals? By offering clear answers to these timely questions, Gutmann and (...) Thompson illuminate the theory and practice of justifying public policies in contemporary democracies. They not only develop their theory of deliberative democracy in new directions but also apply it to new practical problems. They discuss bioethics, health care, truth commissions, educational policy, and decisions to declare war. In "What Deliberative Democracy Means," which opens this collection of essays, they provide the most accessible exposition of deliberative democracy to date. They show how deliberative democracy should play an important role even in the debates about military intervention abroad.Why Deliberative Democracy? contributes to our understanding of how democratic citizens and their representatives can make justifiable decisions for their society in the face of the fundamental disagreements that are inevitable in diverse societies. Gutmann and Thompson provide a balanced and fair-minded approach that will benefit anyone intent on giving reason and reciprocity a more prominent place in politics than power and special interests. (shrink)
Democracy is prone to what may be called presentism – a bias in the laws in favor of present over future generations. I identify the characteristics of democracies that lead to presentism, and examine the reasons that make it a serious problem. Then I consider why conventional theories are not adequate to deal with it, and develop a more satisfactory alternative approach, which I call democratic trusteeship. Present generations can represent future generations by acting as trustees of the democratic process. (...) The general principle is that present generations should act to protect the democratic process itself over time. They should try to make sure that future citizens continue to have competent control over their collective decision‐making. (shrink)
Are public officials morally justified in threatening violence, engaging in deception, or forcing citizens to act for their own good? Can individual officials be held morally accountable for the wrongs that governments commit? Dennis Thompson addresses these questions by developing a conception of political ethics that respects the demands of both morality and politics. He criticizes conventional conceptions for failing to appreciate the difference democracy makes, and for ascribing responsibility only to isolated leaders or to impersonal organizations. His book seeks (...) to recapture the sense that men and women, acting for us and together with us in a democratic process, make the moral choices that govern our public life. Thompson surveys ethical conflicts of public officials over a range of political issues, including nuclear deterrence, foreign intervention, undercover investigation, bureaucratic negligence, campaign finance, the privacy of officials, health care, welfare paternalism, drug and safety regulation, and social experimentation. He views these conflicts from the perspectives of many different kinds of public officials - elected and appointed executives at several levels of government, administrators, judges, legislators, governmental advisers, and even doctors, lawyers, social workers, and journalists whose professional roles often thrust them into public life. In clarifying the ethical problems faced by officials, Thompson combines theoretical analysis with practical prescription, and begins to define a field of inquiry for which many have said there is a need but to which few have yet contributed. Philosophers, political scientists, policy analysts, sociologists, lawyers, and other professionals interested in ethics in government will gain insight from this book. (shrink)
In this important collection of essays Dennis Thompson argues for a more robust conception of responsibility in public life than prevails in contemporary democracies. He suggests that we should stop thinking so much about public ethics in terms of individual vices and start thinking about it more in terms of institutional vices. Combining theory and practice with many concrete examples and proposals for reform, these essays could be used in courses in applied ethics or political theory and will be read (...) by professionals and graduate students in schools of political science, public policy, law, public health, journalism and business. (shrink)
Hospital ethics, familiar enough in practice but surprisingly neglected in the literature, deals with the ethical problems that arise distinctively or typically in hospitals. More precisely, it consists of the ethical principles that shouldgovern 1) the conduct of healthcare professionals and other staff in their capacities as members of the hospital as an institution, and 2) the conduct of the hospital itself as an institution. It is a species of institutional ethics, which focuses on the ethical problems created or significantly (...) shaped by the institutional setting in which they occur. (shrink)
...Witherspoon's Course in Political Theory, as Taken by James Madison Dennis F. Thompson Princeton University [523...Witherspoon's Course in Political Theory, as Taken by James Madison. James Madison was an unusually wen-prepared student when, at eighteen...