Diversity and Deliberation: Bioethics Commissions and Moral Reasoning

Journal of Religious Ethics 34 (2):311 - 337 (2006)
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Abstract

This article considers the sort of diversity in perspective appropriate for a presidential commission on bioethics, and by implication, high-level governmental commissions on ethics more generally. It takes as its point of comparison the respective reports on human cloning produced by the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, appointed by President Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush's President's Council on Bioethics, under the leadership of its original chair, Leon Kass. I argue that the Clinton Commission Report exemplifies forensic diversity (the type of diversity between contesting parties in a legal case), while the Kass Council Report exemplifies academic diversity (the diversity found in a medieval disputatio). Drawing upon Thomas Aquinas, I argue that the type of diversity most appropriate for such advisory bodies is deliberative diversity, which facilitates the President's process of taking counsel. After considering their respective charges, I suggest that neither the Clinton Commission nor the Kass Council possessed an adequate degree of deliberative diversity for their respective tasks

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Citations of this work

Three ways to politicize bioethics.Mark B. Brown - 2009 - American Journal of Bioethics 9 (2):43 – 54.
The president's council on bioethics—requiescat in pace.Ronald M. Green - 2010 - Journal of Religious Ethics 38 (2):197-218.

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References found in this work

Principles of biomedical ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by James F. Childress.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The birth of bioethics.Albert R. Jonsen - 1998 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The moral limits of the criminal law.Joel Feinberg - 1984 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The moral limits of the criminal law.Joel Feinberg - 1984 - New York,USA: Oxford University Press.

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