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Readers of Ethics Etc, especially those living near London, might be interested in the following, which is free and open to the public, though registration is required:

A British Academy workshop convened by David Archard, University of Lancaster, Angus Dawson, University of Keele, Susan Mendus, FBA, University of York and Suzanne Uniacke, University of Hull

9.30 – 17.30, Saturday 8 March 2008
The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace,
London, SW1Y 5AH

There will be a drinks reception sponsored by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Journal of Applied Philosophy

David Archard, University of Lancaster
Kimberley Brownlee, University of Manchester
Allen Buchanan, Duke University
Vittorio Bufacchi, University College Cork
Alan Carter, University of Glasgow
James Connelly, University of Hull
Antony Duff, University of Stirling
Neil Manson, University of Lancaster
Onora O’Neill, PBA, British Academy
Henry Shue, University of Oxford
Victor Tadros, University of Warwick
John Tasioulas, University of Oxford

This workshop will address critical questions about the appropriate role of philosophy in the formulation and implementation of public policy in areas such as health, law and politics. These questions are vital both for the policy issues with which philosophy increasingly engages and for an understanding of philosophy itself.

How should we conceive of the role of philosophy in relation to public policy? Is philosophy’s input to public policy formation or development distinctive and essential? Can philosophical input on policy matters be regarded as authoritative in some respects, or should it always be viewed as advisory? How should philosophical engagement with policy formation interact with that of relevant empirical disciplines, with strategic concerns, with insight gained from experience? Should it be pursued both directly (e.g. by inclusion of philosophers on regulatory, advisory, policy and decision-making bodies) and indirectly (e.g. through publication in political, legal and applied philosophy)? Can philosophers appropriately make an immediate and a substantive input to policy formation, or should they always conceive of their role qua philosophers as disinterested and critical? How should philosophers who engage directly with actual policy-making respond to pressures for ‘philosophical compromise’ where policy must be publicly defensible and workable?

Workshop participants will be invited to address where and in what ways philosophical engagement with public policy is appropriate and valuable, and where and in what ways it is not, and to reflect generally about the appropriate role of philosophy in relation to public policy.

The workshop format will be four ninety minute sessions, each involving a central paper and two responses to it. The central papers will be circulated to registered participants in advance, and it will be assumed that all participants have read them. The sessions will begin with presentations from the two respondents, to which the author of the central paper will have a right of brief reply. This will be followed by general discussion.

Visit the British Academy website for further details and to book on-line
Telephone enquiries: 020 7969 5238 / Email:

For media enquiries please contact Michael Reade, External Relations, 020 7969 5263 /

The British Academy
10 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5AH
Tel: 020 7969 5200
Fax: 020 7969 5300


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