Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The Philosopher as Coach

EXPERTS IN SCIENCE AND SOCIETY, pp. 181-200, Elke Kurz-Milcke, Gerd Gigerenzer, eds., Kluwer, 2004

19 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2011  

Andreas Follesdal

Pluricourts

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

Philosophers are regularly called upon to assist in deliberation about ethical matters. Committees are established at the European Union (EU) level, as well as by domestic governments and at the institutional level, to address sensitive issues in medicine, research, and other policy areas. Such committees are often designed to include an ethics expert, or an ethics consultant, on the assumption that philosophers have something to offer. But, what is it that philosophers can offer such committees?

To be sure, ethics consultancy is nothing new: The very first ethics consultants may have been the sophists of ancient Greece. However, from Socrates onwards, philosophers have also reflected on the moral appropriateness of offering their services to governments and individuals in power. Socrates denounced the sophists roundly: No one should make a living by selling arguments as tools of manipulation. Recent critics voice more modest concerns:

Philosophy is most true to itself as a critical rather than as an immediate constructive force and as a discipline based in the academy rather than mired in the political fray. (Weisbard, 1987, p. 783)

What is called for is the exercise of philosophical talents in the service of alternative ways of influencing public policy, outside of establishment organized, officially sanctioned bodies that can do little – and usually intend
even less – to change the status quo. (Momeyer, 1990, p. 402)

Keywords: Philosophy, Ethics, EU, Political Theory

Suggested Citation

Follesdal, Andreas, The Philosopher as Coach (2004). EXPERTS IN SCIENCE AND SOCIETY, pp. 181-200, Elke Kurz-Milcke, Gerd Gigerenzer, eds., Kluwer, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1752194 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1752194

Andreas Follesdal (Contact Author)

Pluricourts ( email )

P.O. Box 6706
St. Olavs plass 5
0130 Oslo
Norway

Paper statistics

Downloads
38
Abstract Views
477