The Role of Philosophers in the Public Policy Process: A View From the President's Commission
Weisbard, Alan J.
Ethics. 1987 Jul; 97(4): 776-785.
A lawyer who was assistant director of the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research describes the difficulties he sees in participation by philosophers in the making of public policy. He attributes the Commission's considerable success in influencing public policy to its consensus building approach. However, in its analysis of the appropriate governmental response to compensation of injured research subjects, the Commission produced only a "useless" report calling for further study. The problem was that the force of the simple argument for compensation based on justice was undercut by an academic libertarian argument. Technical questions of program design are refractory to philosophical analysis, and philosophers are not receptive to pragmatic compromise. Accordingly, philosophers should provide a moral critique of political compromises, rather than play a direct role in policy making. (KIE abstract)
Advisory Committees; Behavioral Research; Bioethical Issues; Bioethics; Case Studies; Communication; Compensation; Consensus; Decision Making; Ethical Analysis; Ethicist's Role; Ethicists; Evaluation; Human Experimentation; Injuries; Investigators; Justice; Law; Medicine; Philosophy; Policy Making; Public Policy; Research; Research Subjects; Socioeconomic Factors; Technical Expertise;
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