Political Ethics and Public Office

ISBN-10: 0674686063

ISBN-13: 9780674686069

Edition: 1987

Authors: Dennis F. Thompson

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Are public officials morally justified in threatening violence, engaging in deception, or forcing citizens to act for their own good? Can individual officials be held morally accountable for the wrongs that governments commit? Dennis Thompson addresses these questions by developing a conception of political ethics that respects the demands of both morality and politics. He criticizes conventional conceptions for failing to appreciate the difference democracy makes, and for ascribing responsibility only to isolated leaders or to impersonal organizations. His book seeks to recapture the sense that men and women, acting for us and together with us in a democratic process, make the moral choices that govern our public life. Thompson surveys ethical conflicts of public officials over a range of political issues, including nuclear deterrence, foreign intervention, undercover investigation, bureaucratic negligence, campaign finance, the privacy of officials, health care, welfare paternalism, drug and safety regulation, and social experimentation. He views these conflicts from the perspectives of many different kinds of public officials - elected and appointed executives at several levels of government, administrators, judges, legislators, governmental advisers, and even doctors, lawyers, social workers, and journalists whose professional roles often thrust them into public life. In clarifying the ethical problems faced by officials, Thompson combines theoretical analysis with practical prescription, and begins to define a field of inquiry for which many have said there is a need but to which few have yet contributed. Philosophers, political scientists, policy analysts, sociologists, lawyers, and other professionals interested in ethics in government will gain insight from this book.
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Book details

List price: $35.50
Copyright year: 1987
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 3/1/1990
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

Problems of The Ethics of office Methods of The Ethics of office
Democratic Dirty Hands
The Persistence of The Problem
The Limits of Democratic Distance
The Assumption of Accountability Reviewing
The Decision Generalizing
The Decision Mediating
The Decision
The End of Dirty Decisions Democratic Deterrence
The Moral Responsibility of Many Hands
Hierarchical Responsibility
Collective Responsibility
Personal Responsibility
Alternative Causes Causing and Advising Good Intentions
The Ignorance of officials
The Compulsion of offices
Official Crime and Punishment
The Problem of Moral Responsibility
The Problem of Political Responsibility
Limits of Criminal Responsibility
Legislative Ethics
Minimalist Ethics
Functionalist Ethics
Rationalist Ethics
The Particulars of Generality
The Autonomous Legislator
The Pecuniary Connection
The Necessity of Publicity
The Private Lives of Public officials
The Value of Privacy
The Scope of Privacy: Substantive Criteria
The Scope of Privacy: Procedural Criteria
Paternalistic Power
The Concept of Paternalism
The Justification of Paternalism
The Paternalism of The Professions Compulsory Medical Treatment
The Law of Involuntary Guardianship
The Distribution of Public Welfare
The Regulation of Drugs
The Regulation of Safety
The Ethics of Social Experiments
The Story of The Denver Income Maintenance Experiment (DIME)
The Ethics of The DIME Evaluations and Implications of The DIME
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