Abstract: Ethics designates a structured process by which important human values and meanings of life are understood and tackled. Therein, the ability to discuss openly and reflect on (aka deliberation) understandings of moral problems, on solutions to these problems, and to explore what a meaningful resolution could amount to is highly valued. However, the indicators of what constitutes a high-quality ethical deliberation remain vague and unclear. This article proposes and develops a pragmatist approach to evaluate the quality of deliberation. Deliberation features three important moments: (1) broadening and deepening the understanding of the situation, (2) envisioning action scenarios, (3) coming to a judgment based on the comparative evaluation of scenarios. In this paper, we propose seven criteria to evaluate ethical deliberations: (1) collaborative diversity, (2) experiential literacy, (3) organization of experiences, (4) reflective capacity to instrumentalize the experiences of others, (5) interactional creativity, (6) openness of agents, (7) quality of the reformulation of scenarios. These criteria are explained and applied to the three moments of deliberation. Based on these criteria, three kinds of outcomes for deliberations are identified and discussed: good ethical deliberations, partial ethical deliberations, bad ethical deliberations. Our proposal will guide researchers and practitioners interested in the evaluation of the quality of ethical deliberations. It provides a reference tool that allows them to identify the possible limitations of a deliberation and to implement actions aimed at correcting these limitations in order to achieve the desired qualitative objectives.

Keywords: Deliberation · Pragmatism · Experience · Evaluation · Quality · Human flourishing


Senghor Abdou Simon, Racine Eric. How to evaluate the quality of an ethical deliberation? A pragmatist proposal for evaluation criteria and collaborative research. Health Care and Philosophy, 2022, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11019-022-10091-2.