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Ethics in Evaluation

Helen Simons

Some of the most intractable ethical problems arise from conflicts among principles and the necessity of trading one off against the other. The balancing of such principles in concrete situations is the ultimate ethical act . (House, 1993, p. 168) Ethics is a branch of politics. That is to say, it is the duty of the statesman to create for the citizen the best possible opportunity of living the good life. It will seen that the effect of this injunction is not to degrade morality but to moralise politics . (Thomson, 1953, p. 26, commentary on The Ethics of Aristotle) The two quotations above underscore much that will be explored in this chapter as evaluators go about their business of evaluating programmes and policies in the socio-political contexts in which they are commissioned, enacted and disseminated. Drawing attention to the interdependence of politics and ethics and conflicts among principles, highlights ...

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