Bioethics 25 (7):361-369 (2011)

Guy Widdershoven
VU University Amsterdam
In this article, we argue that a critical examination of epistemological and anthropological presuppositions might lead to a more fruitful use of theory in clinical-ethical practice. We differentiate between two views of conceptualizing ethics, referring to Charles Taylors' two epistemological models: ‘monological’ versus ‘dialogical consciousness’. We show that the conception of ethics in the model of ‘dialogical consciousness’ is radically different from the classical understanding of ethics in the model of ‘monological consciousness’. To reach accountable moral judgments, ethics cannot be conceptualized as an individual enterprise, but has to be seen as a practical endeavor embedded in social interactions within which moral understandings are being negotiated. This view has specific implications for the nature and the role of ethical theory. Theory is not created in the individual mind of the ethicist; the use of theory is part of a joint learning process and embedded in a cultural context and social history. Theory is based upon practice, and serves practical purposes. Thus, clinical ethics support is both practical and theoretical
Keywords epistemology of ethics  clinical ethics  ethics experts  dialogical ethics  hermeneutics  clinical ethics support service  theory
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2011.01912.x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,307
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Clinical Ethics: Theory or Practice?Jos V. M. Welie - 1998 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 19 (3):295-312.
Steps Towards a Theory of Medical Practice.Peter Hucklenbroich - 1998 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 19 (3):215-228.
Casuistry and Clinical Ethics.Albert R. Jonsen - 1986 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 7 (1).


Added to PP index

Total views
23 ( #493,065 of 2,507,822 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,715 of 2,507,822 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes