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Abstract

How should members of a liberal democratic political community, open to value pluralism, decide bioethical issues that generate deep disagreement? All too often, reasoned debate yields no answer equally acceptable to all participants and affected persons. One political means of reaching binding because authoritative decisions are majoritarian democratic institutions. A core feature of this means is proceduralism, the notion both that no rule is acceptable apart from a formal method, and that the acceptable method yields an acceptable rule. I argue that two procedures in particular can deliver “legitimate” bioethical decisions. I advance this argument in three steps. (1) I develop the thesis with the example of human germline gene editing. (2) I propose a general understanding of proceduralism, toward coping with the bioethical questions raised by germline engineering. (3) I combine two types of proceduralism toward deciding difficult bioethical issues: expert bioethics committees and deliberative democracy. I call this approach political bioethics on the claim that bioethics belongs to the political sphere where issues of regulation, legislation, and public policy are decided. Resolving such issues often involves decisions that cannot be “correct” but can be “procedurally legitimate.”

Forthcoming events

NDPH/BDI Seminar - The Impact of ART and Circumcision on Community HIV Incidence- The Botswana Combination Prevention Project

Tuesday, 21 May 2019, 2.30pm to 3.30pm @ Seminar room 1, BDI, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

Ethox and WEH Seminar - Delaying and Withholding Interventions: Ethics and the Stepped Wedge

Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 11am to 12.30pm @ Seminar room 0, BDI, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

CPNP Seminar - Ending the Pacific NCD Crisis: Insights from Tonga and New Zealand

Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 1pm to 2pm @ L1 Ax Meeting room, BDI, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

Richard Doll Seminar: Are journals an endangered species?

Tuesday, 28 May 2019, 1pm to 2pm @ Seminar rooms, BDI, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

Ethox and WEH Seminar - Beyond Hype: Opportunities and Challenges in mHealth

Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 11am to 12.30pm @ Seminar room 0, BDI, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF