The Normativity of Clinical Health Care: Perspectives on Moral Realism

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37 (3):295-309 (2012)
Abstract
The paper argues that a particular version of moral realism constitutes an important basis for ethics in medicine and health care. Moral realism is the position that moral value is a part of the fabric of relational and interpersonal reality. But even though moral values are subject to human interpretations, they are not themselves the sole product of these interpretations. Moral values are not invented but discovered by the subject. Moral realism argues that values are open to perception and experience and that moral subjectivity must be portrayed in how moral values are discovered and perceived by the human subject. Moral values may exist independent of the particular subject’s interpretative evaluations as a part of reality. This epistemological point about normativity is particularly significant in medical care and in health care. The clinician perceives moral value in the clinical encounter in a way that is important for competent clinical understanding. Clinical understanding in medical care and health care bears on the encounter with moral values in the direct and embodied relations to patients, with their experiences of illness and their vulnerabilities. Good clinical care is then partly conditioned upon adequate understanding of such moral realities
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References found in this work BETA
Per Nortvedt (2008). Sensibility and Clinical Understanding. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 11 (2):209-219.
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P. Nortvedt (2003). Levinas, Justice and Health Care. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 6 (1):25-34.
N. E. Bowie (1982). 'Role' as a Moral Concept in Health Care. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 7 (1):57-64.
Michael H. Kottow (1999). Theoretical Aids in Teaching Medical Ethics. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 2 (3):225-229.
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