Liberal societies are characterized in terms of a fundamental value pluralism, i.e., respect for individuals' rights to live by their own concept of what is good. Still, the state must make decisions that give privilege to some values at the expense of others. When public ethics committees give substantial ethical advice on policy related issues, it is therefore important that this advice is well justified. The use of explicit tools for ethical assessment can contribute to justifying the advice. This article discusses one approach to ethical assessment, the ethical matrix method. This method is a variant of intuitionist balancing. Intuitionism is characterized by stressing the existence of several (at least two) fundamental prima facie moral principles, between which there is no given rank order. For some intuitionist approaches, coherentism has been proposed as a model of justification. This article also discusses the justification of ethical advice and evaluate the appropriateness of coherentism as a justificatory approach to intuitionist tools.
|Publication Title||Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics|
|Author Address||The National Committees for Research Ethics, P.O. Box 522 Sentrum, 0105 Oslo, Norway. email@example.com|
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