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Should policy ethics come in two colours: green or white?


When writing about policy, do you think in green or white? If not, I recommend that you do. I suggest that writers and journal editors should explicitly label every policy ethics paper either ‘green’ or ‘white’. A green paper is an unconstrained exploration of a policy question. The controversial ‘After-birth abortion’ paper is an example. Had it been labelled as ‘green’, readers could have understood what Giubilini and Minerva explained later: that it was a discussion of philosophical ideas, and not a policy proposal advocating infanticide. A serious policy proposal should be labelled by writer(s) and editor(s) as ‘white’. Its purpose should be to influence policy. In order to influence policy, I suggest three essential, and two desirable, characteristics of any white paper. Most importantly, a white paper should be set in the context in which the policy is to be made and applied.

  • Philosophical Ethics
  • Policy Guidelines/Inst. Review Boards/Review Cttes.
  • Public Policy
  • Publication Ethics

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