The President's Council on Bioethics
The President's Council on Bioethics under Leon Kass was an important innovation in democratic practices surrounding science and technology. Most importantly, understanding its richer bioethics as a humanistic conversation offers a viable and vital way to improve the arena of policy and public choice - reshaping it as a place of open-minded debate between rival conceptions of the good, rather than a market for the bargaining of individuals, each with their own immutable preferences. But the Kass Council also had its shortcomings when the angels of its better nature succumbed to human fallibility, institutional flaws, and tawdry political machinations. Both its successes and failures provide important lessons for those seeking to improve the quality of public discussion on the ethics and policy of science and technology.