Ethics in public policy

This course examines questions of public policy from the point of view of moral and political philosophy. The first part of the course raises questions about the responsibilities of policy-makers: How should political actors respond to the ethical challenges they face in office? In answering this question, we will explore how moral reasoning can have a bearing on policy-making; examine the nature of moral and political responsibility; look at the problem of dirty hands and discuss the permissibility of whistle-blowing. The second part of the course applies central concepts from moral and political philosophy to important policy areas: What is good and just public policy? A domestic policy focus looks at distributive justice and the market, raising questions about social inequality, tax policy and the moral limits of markets. An international policy focus discusses questions of global justice, including human rights and the permissible use of force. Throughout the course we will combine a systematic discussion of normative questions with an evaluation of specific policy proposals.
 
 

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