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Maria Hedlund

Maria Hedlund

Associate Professor | Senior Lecturer

Maria Hedlund

Ethics expertise in political regulation of biomedicine: the need of democratic justification


  • Maria Hedlund

Summary, in English

This study addresses the problem that democratic polities call for expert advice on normative issues and argues for the need of democratic justification of political use of ethics expertise in regulation of biomedicine. Ethics expertise, expertise in the sys- tematic analysis of moral problems, must not be conflated with moral expertise, expertise in providing the right moral. However, by asking ethics expertise for advice, political decision-makers impose bioethics councils to provide consensus decisions on value questions, which is detrimental to democracy. The article demonstrates how consensus seeking transforms ethics expertise into alleged moral expertise, which precludes the fundamental democratic value of equal respect of all citizens’ right of normative self-determination and to have an equal say in common matters. To be democratically justified, it is necessary that ethics expertise uses its clarifying expertise and provides different possible moral positions for the public and democratically accountable decision-makers to deliberate and decide upon.


  • Department of Political Science

Publishing year





Critical Policy Studies

Document type

Journal article




  • Political Science


  • expertise
  • democracy
  • ethics
  • bioethics
  • consensus




  • ISSN: 1946-0171