Clinical Ethics Consultants are not “Ethics” Experts—But They do Have Expertise

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (4):384-400 (2016)
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Abstract

The attempt to critique the profession of clinical ethics consultation by establishing the impossibility of ethics expertise has been a red herring. Decisions made in clinical ethics cases are almost never based purely on moral judgments. Instead, they are all-things-considered judgments that involve determining how to balance other values as well. A standard of justified decision-making in this context would enable us to identify experts who could achieve these standards more often than others, and thus provide a basis for expertise in clinical ethics consultation. This expertise relies in part on what Richard Zaner calls the “expert knowledge of ethical phenomena”.

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Lisa Marie Rasmussen
University of North Carolina, Charlotte