Research Article

Moral Compromise

David Archarda1 c1

a1 Queen's University, Belfast


A moral compromise is a compromise on moral matters; it is agreement in the face of moral disagreement but where there is agreement on the importance of consensus – namely that it secures a morally desirable outcome. It is distinguishable from other forms of agreement, and an important distinction between moral compromise with public agreement and moral compromise with public disagreement is also made. Circumstances in which the former might be permissible are outlined, and the sense in which it is allowed all things considered to agree is made clear. The relevant discussions of Dan Brock and Mary Warnock on the role of the philosopher to public policy are critically reviewed. Finally, a brief list is offered of the considerations relevant to an estimation of whether and, if so, when such compromise is allowed.

David Archard is Professor of Philosophy at Queen's University Belfast having previously taught at the Universities of Ulster, St. Andrews and Lancaster. He is the author of several books and many articles in applied ethics, social, legal and political philosophy. His most recent books are The Family: A Liberal Defence (2010) and the co-edited Procreation and Parenthood: The Ethics of Bearing and Rearing Children (2010).