Strange, but not stranger: The peculiar visage of philosophy in clinical ethics consultation [Book Review]

Human Studies 22 (1):69-97 (1999)
Abstract
Baylis, Tomlinson, and Hoffmaster each raise a number of critiques in response to Bliton's manuscript. In response, we focus on three themes we believe run through each of their critiques. The first is the ambiguity between the role of ethics consultation within an institution and the role of the actual ethics consultant in a particular situation, as well as the resulting confusion when these roles are conflated. We explore this theme by revisiting the question of What's going on? in clinical ethics consultations. Moving from those issues associated with the role of the ethics consultant to those associated with the role of inquiry within the practice of ethics consultation, we then take up the serious challenge that Bliton seems shackled by the assumptions and institutional dispositions embedded in the medical culture in which he is working. This reveals the second theme, namely that there is a risk of co-optation when acting in a role that derives its legitimacy from institutional sources. Finally, we focus on an even more problematic implication stemming from the first two, namely that the focus on institutional power as the crucial factor for determining ethical significance has the effect of distorting, and perhaps obscuring, other forms of relational, interpersonal, and moral meaning.
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Richard M. Zaner (1999). Afterword. Human Studies 22 (1):99-116.
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