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Philosophy, Social Institutions, and the Ethics of Belief: A Response to Buchanan

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First, Allen Buchanan, in the version of his paper entitled ‘Philosophy and public policy: a role for social moral epistemology’ that he presented at the workshop on ‘Philosophy and Public Policy’ held at the British Academy in London on March 8th 2008, seems to imply that professional, academic philosophers have had little impact upon public policy. I mention an area where it can be argued in response that they have had a more benign, as well as a more widespread, influence on society than Buchanan acknowledges in that version of his paper: in legislation concerning animal welfare. Second, I question whether or not the liberal commitment to freedom of religion is compatible with the ethics of belief that Buchanan appears to advocate.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, University of Glasgow, 67–69 Oakfield Avenue, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2009


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