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Philosophy and Public Policy Workshop

Date: 8 March 2008 Time: 9.30 - 17.30pm

Philosophy and Public Policy Workshop

9.30 - 17.30, Saturday 8 March 2008

followed by a drinks reception sponsored by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Journal of Applied Philosophy

The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1


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.


Baroness Onora O'Neill, PBA; Professor Allen Buchanan (Duke University); Professor Antony Duff FBA (University of Stirling); Professor Henry Shue (University of Oxford); Professor David Archard (University of Lancaster); Dr Kimberley Brownlee (University of Manchester; Dr Vittorio Bufacchi (University College Cork); Professor Alan Carter (University of Glasgow); Professor James Connelly (University of Hull); Dr Neil Manson (University of Lancaster); Professor Victor Tadros (University of Warwick); Dr John Tasioulas (University of Oxford)

Workshop Convenors

Professor Susan Mendus FBA (University of York); Professor David Archard (University of Lancaster); Dr Angus Dawson (University of Keele); Dr Suzanne Uniacke (University of Hull)

Please note our registration and seating policy:

  1. Please register using the on-line booking form
  2. No tickets will be issued for this event.
  3. The first 100 audience members arriving at the Academy will be offered a seat in our Lecture Room where this event will take place. The next 50 people to arrive will be offered a seat in our Overflow Room which has a video and audio link to the Lecture Room.

Event website: http://


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: David Archard, Neil Manson

Organising departments and research centres: Philosophy


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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