A method in search of a purpose: The internal morality of medicine

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26 (6):643 – 662 (2001)
I begin this commentary with an expanded typology of theories that endorse an internal morality of medicine. I then subject these theories to a philosophical critique. I argue that the more robust claims for an internal morality fail to establish a stand-alone method for bioethics because they ignore crucial non-medical values, violate norms of justice and fail to establish the normativity of medical values. I then argue that weaker versions of internalism avoid such problems, but at the cost of failing to provide a clear sense in which their moral norms are internal or can ground a comprehensive approach to moral problems. Finally, I explore various functions that an internal morality might serve, concluding with the observation that, while there may be a core of good sense to the notion of an internal morality of medicine, our expectations for it must be drastically lowered
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DOI 10.1076/jmep.26.6.643.2997
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