Allen E. Buchanan



Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law, Duke University (USA)

Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
May/June 2012

Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
»The Social Ethics of Believing«

Project outline:
My project is to deepen the theory of social moral epistemology I have begun to develop and use it to ground an account of the ethics of believing, with an emphasis on the importance of epistemic virtues and on relationships between moral virtues and epistemic virtues. The ultimate goal is a book entitled The Social Ethics of Believing. Two central themes of the project are (1) that both Moral and Political Philosophy and conventional moralities have neglected the ethics of believing and (2) that an adequate appreciation of the ethics of believing requires an approach to the virtues that emphasizes our epistemic dependency on social institutions and practices. The project will do much to remedy two deficiencies of mainstream social epistemology: the failure to develop an account of the interaction between individual virtues (epistemic and moral) and social practices and institutions; and the failure to address morally crucial beliefs and their role in behavior that can either facilitate or impede efforts to achieve justice, including human rights. (Allen E. Buchanan)

Funding of the stay:
»Justitia Amplificata. Rethinking Justice − Applied and Global«

Scholarly profile of Allen E. Buchanan


Main areas of research:
Bioethics, Philosophie of International Law, Plotical Philosophy, Social Moral Epistemology

Selected publications:
  1. Beyond Humanity? The Ethics of Biomedical Enhancement, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011.rnrn
  2. Better Than Human: The Promise and Perils of Enhancing Ourselves, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011.rnrn
  3. Human Rights, Legitimacy, and the Use of Force: Selected Essays, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2009.rnrn
  4. Justice and Health Care: Selected Essays, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2009.rnrn
  5. Justice, Legitimacy and Self-Determination: Moral Foundations for International Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2009.rnrn
  6. From Chance to Choice: Genetics & Justice, with Dan W. Brock, Norman Daniels and Daniel Winkler, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press 2000.rnrn
  7. Secession: The Morality of Political Divorce from Sumter to Lithuana and Quebec, Boulder (Colo.): Westview Press 1991.rnrn
  8. Deciding for Others: The Ethics of Surrogate Decision Making, with Dan W. Brock,Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press 2000.rnrn
  9. Marx and Justice: The Radical Critique of Liberalism, Totowa: Rowman and Littlefield 1982.

Further activities:
rnAllen Buchanan was Staff Philosopher for the (U.S.)President's Comission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1982), and Consultant of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experimantation (1994-1995), National Bioethics Advisory Commission (1997), European High Comissioner on National Minorities (Max Van der Stoel, The Hague, 1996), Transitional Government of Ethiopia (1993), Government of Canada (Office of the Privy Council) on possible secession of Quebec (1997), Secretary of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing (1999-2000), and (Obama's) Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (2010).