T. Y. Bartashevich, E. A. Ovchinnikova


Social transformations in modern society such as a change in the character of a moral subject, social dynamics and value pluralism, etc. require development of institutions of moral regulation, which would respond to the needs of society in ensuring social solidarity. The mechanism of the correlation of individual and collective intentionality, contributing to social solidarity, is public morality. Institutionalism and the social nature of morality stand out as the essential features of the public morality. The authors show that the above characteristics are also attributes of ethical expertise, which makes it possible to consider ethical expertise as an institution of public morality. In the definition of the ontological essence of social institutions, including ethical expertise, in distinguishing regulatory and constitutive institutions, the authors rely on the work of J. Searl. Ethical review as an institution (or a “social fact” in E. Durkheim’s terminology) is the first research vector in determining the status of ethical expertise. The second vector in determining the status of ethical expertise is the understanding of expertise as an unfolding process, as a social action in the context of the theories proposed by M. Weber and J. Habermas, implying the principle of ‘targeting the other’ and achieving some consensus of experts during the discourse. Following J. Habermas and J. Serl, the authors pay special attention to the role of language in building both communicative actions and social facts. Another problem is the problem of conceptual apparatus, within the framework of which the subject content of ethical expertise is fixed and analyzed. Value judgments are formed in the process of moral reflection both on the ordinary and on the theoretical level. At the theoretical level, the phenomena of morality are fixed by their universal internal connections and regularities, which allow combining, with the help of rational procedures, all the diversity of the phenomena under study in a single conceptual field. It is important to note that at this level, the concept of moral consciousness, with the need to meet the requirements of certainty, universal recognition within the boundaries of theoretical knowledge, unambiguous language expression, permanence, stability. Theoretical knowledge with the help of formalization procedures is able to translate the relational, dynamic, unstable everyday concepts of morality into a relatively stable state, which allows identifying and analyzing the subject field of ethical expertise and setting the initial data for expert judgment. The authors found a correlation between the status of ethical expertise and conflict-resolution technologies. Thus, ethical expertise in the status of an institution of public morality (this is primarily about regulatory institutions — rules rather than constitutive ones) can act as a coercive technology in resolving value conflicts; ethical expertise in the status of social actions can be used as a voluntary technology in conflict resolution. In the context of the controversy that has arisen in Russian ethical thought about the admissibility / inadmissibility of coerciveness in the moral regulation of social interaction, this observation is promising for modern applied ethical research. The authors come to the conclusion that in the space of public morality, ethical examination can act both as a social fact (institution) and as a social action. Ethical expertise has a conflict-resolving potential with respect to ideological contradictions because of its focus on identifying the value foundations of public morality and, thus, on the consolidation and value unity of society.


ethical expertise; social fact; institution; social action; public morality

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