Monday, February 6, 2017

Epistemic Authority and Genuine Ethical Controversies

 2017 Feb 3. doi: 10.1111/bioe.12341. [Epub ahead of print]

Epistemic Authority and Genuine Ethical Controversies.


In 'Professional Hubris and its Consequences', Eric Vogelstein claims that 'that there are no good arguments in favor of professional organizations taking genuinely controversial positions on issues of professional ethics'. In this response, I defend two arguments in favour of organisations taking such positions: that their stance-taking may lead to better public policy, and that it may lead to better practice by medical professionals. If either of those defences succeeds, then Vogelstein's easy path to his conclusion - that professional organisations should not take such stances - is blocked. He or others must instead look to establish that the reasons against stance-taking on genuine ethical controversies are more compelling than those for it: plausibly a more challenging task.

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