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From reason to practice in bioethicsAn anthology dedicated to the works of John Harris$
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John Coggon, Sarah Chan, Soren Holme, and Thomasine Kushner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719096235

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719096235.001.0001

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Why the reasonable man is not always right?

Why the reasonable man is not always right?

(p.119) 11 Why the reasonable man is not always right?
From reason to practice in bioethics

Margaret Brazier

Manchester University Press

This chapter reflects on the role of reason in law and bioethics. The aspiring lawyer makes the acquaintance of the ‘reasonable man’ early in her or his student days. The chapter then addresses the work in bioethics of that most ‘reasonable person ’, Professor John Harris. It contends that in terms of law and policy, the reasonable Professor Harris is not always right but argues that Harris’s uncompromising and consistent ethical arguments make an invaluable contribution to debate on policy and legal regulation. Laws in most modern multi-cultural and democratic societies are of necessity based on compromise. Harris would classify some of those compromises as ‘fudge’. Lawmakers need to be acutely aware when they are ‘fudging’ the issue, even when ‘fudge’ is inevitable.

Keywords:   “Reasonable man’, Bioethics, John Harris, Policy, Compromise

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