Public policy and normative methods

Authored by: Albert Weale

The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and Public Policy

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138201279
eBook ISBN: 9781315461731
Adobe ISBN:


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Any public policy is susceptible to ethical assessment. Policies depend on a balance of policy arguments that usually have a deep normative core. Analysis begins by reconstructing overall policy arguments identifying the concepts at that core. Those concepts are often ambiguous and their competing conceptions need to be distinguished in terms of key principles and ideas. Those principles and ideas are related to one another in larger patterns of argument understood along familiar philosophical lines as utilitarian, intuitionist, and rights-based. Where reflective equilibrium fails to resolve disagreements, accountability for reasonableness becomes important.

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