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Wide Reflective Equilibrium as a Normative Model for Responsible Governance


By csep - Posted on 09 August 2013

TitleWide Reflective Equilibrium as a Normative Model for Responsible Governance
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsDoorn, Neelke
JournalNanoEthics
Volume7
Issue1
Pagination29 - 43
Date Published4/2013
PublisherSpringer
ISSN Number1871-4765
KeywordsConsensus, Deliberative democracy, Governance, Nanotechnology Policy and Regulation, Regulation, Regulatory challenges, Soft law, Wide reflective equilibrium
Abstract

Soft regulatory measures are often promoted as an alternative for existing regulatory regimes for nanotechnologies. The call for new regulatory approaches stems from several challenges that traditional approaches have difficulties dealing with. These challenges relate to general problems of governability, tensions between public interests, but also (and maybe particularly) to almost complete lack of certainty about the implications of nanotechnologies. At the same time, the field of nanotechnology can be characterized by a high level of diversity. In this paper, we discuss and compare two models for framing public policy in relation to technology regulation: the first is a deliberative model based on foresight knowledge and the second the wide reflective equilibrium model, developed by political philosopher John Rawls. In both models, the aim is to find consensus on (a framework for) policy measures and regulation. On the basis of a critical discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of both models, some tentative conclusions are drawn for effective policy making and implementation based on soft law.

DOI10.1007/s11569-013-0169-3
Short TitleNanoethics