1st Edition

Philosophy, Ethics, and Public Policy: An Introduction

By Andrew I. Cohen Copyright 2015
    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    240 Pages
    by Routledge

    What makes a policy work? What should policies attempt to do, and what ought they not do? These questions are at the heart of both policy-making and ethics. Philosophy, Ethics and Public Policy: An Introduction examines these questions and more. Andrew I. Cohen uses contemporary examples and controversies, mainly drawn from policy in a North American context, to illustrate important flashpoints in ethics and public policy, such as:

    • public policy and globalization: sweatshops; medicine and the developing world; immigration
    • marriage, family and education: same-sex marriage; women and the family; education and Intelligent Design
    • justifying and responding to state coercion: torture; reparations and restorative justice
    • the ethics of the body and commodification: the human organ trade, and factory farming of animals.

    Each chapter illustrates how ethics offers ways of prioritizing some policy alternatives and imagining new ones. Reflecting on various themes in globalization, markets, and privacy, the chapters are windows to enduring significant debates about what states may do to shape our behavior. Overall, the book will help readers understand how ethics can frame policymaking, while also suggesting that sometimes the best policy is no policy. Including annotated further reading, this is an excellent introduction to a fast-growing subject for students in Philosophy, Public Policy, and related disciplines.

    Introduction  1. Sweatshops  2. Pharmaceuticals and the developing world  3. Immigration  4. Same-sex marriage  5. Women and the family  6. Education and intelligent design  7. Torture  8. Reparations and restorative Justice  9. Markets in human body parts  10. Factory farming of animals  11. Conclusion.  Index 


    Andrew I. Cohen is Director of the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics and Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgia State University, USA. He is co-editor (with Christopher Heath Wellman) of Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics (second edition, 2014).

    "... Every chapter is clearly written, gives a balanced discussion, and has copious notes. Further reading suggestions and a good index make this a valuable resource. Summing Up: Recommended." - D. Stewart, CHOICE

    "Cohen’s book provides an excellent introduction to the field of ethics and public policy. In examining an array of cutting-edge policy controversies, Cohen deftly integrates moral concerns with political and economic considerations. In doing so, he shows how moral reasoning contributes its own distinct repertoire of analytical tools to policymaking, a repertoire every bit as rich and indispensable as those offered by economics and political science." - Andrew Stark, University of Toronto, Canada

    "This book is a model for how to write clearly and think deeply about the connection between ethics and public policy. I wouldn’t hesitate to assign it for an undergraduate course, or recommend it to anyone interested in thinking through the moral trade-offs and feasible policy responses to some of the most important and topical challenges of our time." - Jonathan Anomaly, Duke University, USA

    "Cohen's wonderful book begins with an obvious question that almost nobody ever asks: why have any policy at all? Asking this question opens our eyes to the possibility that sometimes the best public policy is no public policy. With admirable sensitivity to the constraints that economic and political realities impose upon our philosophical ideals, Cohen shows us just how difficult this default option can be to overcome." - Matt Zwolinski, University of San Diego, USA

    "Cohen is the perfect author to explore the controversial matters addressed in this important book. He is exceptionally insightful and clear-headed, and writes with admirable clarity and rigor. I would recommend this excellent book to anyone who wants to think openly and critically about the most pressing public policy issues of our time." - Christopher Heath Wellman, Washington University in St. Louis, USA