Journal of Applied Ethics and Philosophy;vol. 4


A Pluralist Ethical Decision-making Procedure

Muresan, Valentin

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JaLCDOI : 10.14943/jaep.4.11
KEYWORDS : ethical decision-making;ethical pluralism;ethical Delphi;pluralist model


This paper claims that the use of several moral tests to assess the ethics of a new policy is unavoidable. All the efforts to make credible a methodological monism – by critical or reductionist strategies – have been unsuccessful; moreover, it must be acknowledged that even if there were a single test, when applied successively or by different people it would usually give divergent results. The main aim of the paper is to propose a pluralist procedure of ethical decision-making, using a set of proper ethical tests (such as utilitarian, Kantian, Christian, principlist and casuist) in the frame of an “ethical Delphi” procedure intended to make convergent the supposed variety of verdicts. This pluralist testing process, made by moral experts, is only a fraction of a more complex procedure intended to deliver social sanction for a new moral policy. This longer procedure also shows that the adoption of a new moral policy, rule or law is not only a question of passing a strict ethical test, but also a political (i.e. multicriteria) decision. In general, the adoption of a new moral rule does not rely solely on an ethical test, but is essentially the outcome of a complicated social agreement. That is why in academic applications of the usual moral tests we do not take a moral decision on a new case, but merely simulate it.