Analyzing Social Policy Argumentation: A case study on the opinion of the German National Ethics Council on an amendment of the Stem Cell Law

Frank Zenker


This paper analyzes and evaluates the 2007 majority opinion of the German National Ethics Council which seeks to establish new information (as to the inferior quality of legally procurable human embryonic stem cells) as a sufficient reason for a relaxation of the 2002 Stem Cell Law. A micro-level analysis of the opinion’s central section is conducted and evaluated


vis à vis the strongest known opponent position in the national debate at that time. The argumentation is claimed to rely on an unsupported semantic assumption regarding the parthood relation of the 2002 compromise and to misconstrue the strongest known opponent position.


conductive argument, ethical dilemma, human embryonic, political

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ISSN: 0824-2577