The role of bioethicists amidst crises like the COVID-19 pandemic is not well defined. As professionals in the field, they should respond, but how? The observation of the early days of pandemic confinement in Finland showed that moral philosophers with limited experience in bioethics tended to apply their favorite theories to public decisions, with varying results. Medical ethicists were more likely to lend support to the public authorities by soothing or descriptive accounts of the solutions assumed. These are approaches that Tuija Takala has called the firefighting and window dressing models of bioethics. Human rights lawyers drew attention to the flaws of the government’s regulative thinking. Critical bioethicists offered analyses of the arguments presented and the moral and political theories that could be used as the basis of good and acceptable decisions.
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DOI 10.1017/s0963180120000432
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What Do You Think of Philosophical Bioethics?Matti Häyry - 2015 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 24 (2):139-148.
Demagogues, Firefighters, and Window Dressers: Who Are We and What Should We Be?Tuija Takala - 2005 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 14 (4):385-388.

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