Scientific article

When the Philosopher Enters the Room. Comments on Jonathan Wolff's PHILOSOPHY AND PUBLIC POLICY

ContributorsLever, Annabelle
Publication date2014

What can philosophy tell us about ethics and public policy? What can the ethics of public policy tell us about philosophy? Those are the questions that Jonathan Wolff addresses in his wonderful little book. At one level, of course, the answer is straightforward – ethics is a branch of philosophy, so philosophy can tell us about the ethics of public policy, understood as a matter of deciding ‘what we should do' in a manner that is institutionalised and collectively binding. But at another level, as Wolff shows, there is something deeply puzzling about the idea that philosophy can tell us anything very useful about public policy and about the ethical dilemmas that it raises. Those dilemmas arise as a result of political constraints, struggles and resources which generally have little to do with philosophy and, for the most part, rather little to do with ethics. So what, exactly, should philosophers expect from an engagement with public policy?

  • Philosophy
  • Public policy
  • Ethics
  • Jonathan Wolff
  • Democracy
  • Rights
  • Equality
Citation (ISO format)
LEVER, Annabelle. When the Philosopher Enters the Room. Comments on Jonathan Wolff’s PHILOSOPHY AND PUBLIC POLICY. In: Croatian journal of philosophy, 2014.
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Article (Submitted version)
  • PID : unige:40138
ISSN of the journal1333-1108

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