Thursday, July 08, 2010

Deliberative Democracy and Bioethics

NatureNews has this interesting interview with the new chair of the President's Council of Bioethics, political philosopher Amy Gutmann. Here is a sample:

What led you to take the job as chair of the commission?

I'm a political philosopher and a scholar of ethics and public policy by training. I have a long-standing interest in the importance of deliberating on complex issues of health care, science and technology. So when President Obama asked me to chair the commission, first of all I had to say "yes" because the President was asking me to serve. Second, it hit the sweet spot of my scholarly and professional interests.

In this era of sound-bite democracy, we need to recognize the importance of making democracies more deliberative. Deliberative democracy is about engaging: listening to competing points of view, considering opposing arguments and coming to a decision that ideally finds common ground — or at least respects competing points of view.

You can watch the meeting on synthetic biology live, today and tomorrow, at this site here.