Taking a Feminist Relational Perspective on Conscience

In Jocelyn Downie & Jennifer Lewellyn (eds.), Being Relational: Reflections on Relational Theory and Health Law and Policy. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. pp. 161-181 (2011)

Carolyn McLeod
University of Western Ontario
One understanding of conscience dominates bioethical discussion about conscience. On this view, to have a conscience is to be compelled to act in accordance with one’s own moral values for the sake of one’s “integrity,” where integrity is understood as inner or psychological unity. Conscience is deemed valuable because it promotes this quality. In this paper, I describe the dominant view, attempt to show that it is flawed, and sketch a positive alternative to it. In my opinion, conscience often fails to promote inner unity (regardless of the degree of inner unity we have in mind); acting with a conscience leaves many people broken rather than unified. A better view about the value of conscience is that having a conscience encourages morally responsible agency. My goal is to prove that this alternative explains better what it means to value conscience in health care and the extent to which we ought to value it.
Keywords conscience  relational self  health care  conscientious objection  conscientious refusal
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References found in this work BETA

Standing for Something.Cheshire Calhoun - 1995 - Journal of Philosophy 92 (5):235-260.
Racisms.Kwame Anthony Appiah - 1990 - In David Goldberg (ed.), Anatomy of Racism. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 3-17.
Pharmacies, Pharmacists, and Conscientious Objection.Mark R. Wicclair - 2006 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 16 (3):225-250.

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Does Reproductive Justice Demand Insurance Coverage for IVF? Reflections on the Work of Anne Donchin.Carolyn McLeod - 2017 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 10 (2):133-143.

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