Imaginative ethics – bringing ethical praxis into sharper relief

Mats J. Hansson
Uppsala Universitet
The empirical basis for this article is threeyears of experience with ethical rounds atUppsala University Hospital. Three standardapproaches of ethical reasoning are examined aspotential explanations of what actually occursduring the ethical rounds. For reasons given,these are not found to be satisfyingexplanations. An approach called ``imaginativeethics'', is suggested as a more satisfactoryaccount of this kind of ethical reasoning. Theparticipants in the ethical rounds seem to drawon a kind of moral competence based on personallife experience and professional competence andexperience. By listening to other perspectivesand other experiences related to one particularpatient story, the participants imaginealternative horizons of moral experience andexplore a multitude of values related toclinical practice that might be at stake. Inhis systematic treatment of aesthetics in theCritique of Judgement, Kant made use ofan operation of thought that, if applied toethics, will enable us to be more sensitive tothe particulars of each moral situation. Basedon this reading of Kant, an account ofimaginative ethics is developed in order tobring the ethical praxis of doctors and nursesinto sharper relief. The Hebraic and theHellenic traditions of imagination are used inorder to illuminate some of the experiences ofethical rounds. In conclusion, it is arguedthat imaginative ethics and principle-basedethics should be seen as complementary in orderto endow a moral discourse with ethicalauthority. Kantian ethics will do the job if itis remembered that Kant suggested only amodest, negative role of principle-baseddeliberation
Keywords clinical ethics  ethical praxis  imaginative ethics  Kant  reflective judgement
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1014257603144
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Ethical Competence.K. Kulju, M. Stolt, R. Suhonen & H. Leino-Kilpi - 2016 - Nursing Ethics 23 (4):401-412.
Ethics Rounds.Marit Silén, Mia Ramklint, Mats G. Hansson & Kristina Haglund - 2016 - Nursing Ethics 23 (2):203-213.

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