Ethics and Policy

C. Mitcham, E. Fisher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


The relation between ethics and policy is seldom discussed as such, but is important and complex. Discussion appropriately begins with reflection on the origins of the concept of policy, which (as naming a phenomenon distinct from law, rule, plan, design, and principle) did not become prominent in public affairs until the mid-twentieth century. As distinctive features of the lifeworld, policies can be described as science-based programs for action that guide decision-making in service to the effective achievement of clearly designated outcomes. More than laws or other related phenomena, policies are dependent on scientific input. Insofar as such science-based decisions have come to play an enlarged role in human affairs, questions of ethics (as guidelines for human conduct) have naturally arisen in two respects. One respect focuses on articulating ethical guidelines for policy work, another on the construction of policies to promote ethical research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Applied Ethics
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780123739322
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Decision Making
  • Democracy
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Ethics
  • Ethics Codes
  • Ethics for Policy
  • Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)
  • Policy
  • Policy for Ethics
  • Practical Ethics
  • Professional Ethics
  • Public Health Service (PHS)
  • Science
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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