This essay discusses an alternative interpretation of the term “Dasein” as Heidegger uses it in Being and Time and, in particular, the possibility that Dasein is meant to contain an inherent form of intersubjectivity to which we must “return” in order to achieve authenticity. In doing so, I build on the work of John Haugeland and his interpretation of Dasein as a mass term, while exploring the implications such an interpretation has on Heidegger’s conception of “authenticity”. Ultimately, this paper aims (...) to take seriously Heidegger’s claim to be moving past the isolated Cartesian subject and towards a view of authentic human existence that is cognizant of the way our identities are always formed within a pre-existing community. In addition, since many interpretations of Heidegger have argued that “the Anyone” is representative of all possible forms of community, I consider how this alternative understanding of Dasein as intersubjective can shed new light on critical remarks Heidegger makes about “the Anyone”. Thus, I argue that by reinterpreting Dasein as community, we can find more coherence between Heidegger’s otherwise conflicting conceptions of authenticity and “the Anyone”. (shrink)
Narrative ethics taps into an inherent human need to tell our own stories centred on our own moral values and to have those stories heard and acknowledged. However, not everyone’s words are afforded equal power. The use of narrative ethics in bioethical decision-making is problematized by a disparity in whose stories are told, whose stories are heard, and whose stories are believed. Here, I conduct an analysis of narrative ethics through a critical theory lens to show how entrenched patterns of (...) narrative neglect in medicine are harming not only our capacity to make use of narrative ethics but also our capacity to deliver effective healthcare. To illustrate this point, I use three examples where the patient’s gender affects how their stories unfold: autism, weight, and pain management. From these, I argue that the use of narrative ethics without the application of a critical theory lens risks the exacerbation of what Miranda Fricker refers to as “testimonial injustice,” the prima facie harm experienced by individuals whose credibility is undermined by others’ prejudices. Finally, I suggest that narrative ethics can be a powerful tool for mitigating oppressive practices in medicine if we couple it with critical analysis that enables us to understand the power dynamics at play in storytelling. (shrink)
Objective To study how doctors care for their patients, both medically and as fellow humans, through observing their conduct in patient–doctor encounters. Design Qualitative study in which 101 videotaped consultations were observed and analysed using a Grounded Theory approach, generating explanatory categories through a hermeneutical analysis of the taped consultations. Setting A 500-bed general teaching hospital in Norway. Participants 71 doctors working in clinical non-psychiatric departments and their patients. Results The doctors were concerned about their patients' health and how their (...) medical knowledge could be of service. This medical focus often over-rode other important aspects of the consultations, especially existential elements. The doctors actively directed the focus away from their patients' existential concerns onto medical facts and rarely addressed the personal aspects of a patient's condition, treating them in a biomechanical manner. At the same time, however, the doctors attended to their patients with courteousness, displaying a polite and friendly attitude and emphasising the relationship between them. Conclusions The study suggests that the main failing of patient–doctor encounters is not a lack of courteous manners, but the moral offence patients experience when existential concerns are ignored. Improving doctors' social and communication skills cannot resolve this moral problem, which appears to be intrinsically bound to modern medical practice. Acknowledging this moral offence would, however, be the first step towards minimising the effects thereof. (shrink)
Although science supplies medicine's “gold standard,” knowledge exercised in the care of patients is, like moral knowing, a matter of narrative, practical reason. Physicians draw on case narrative to store experience and to apply and qualify the general rules of medical science. Literature aids in this activity by stimulating moral imagination and by requiring its readers to engage in the retrospective construction of a situated, subjective account of events. Narrative truths are provisional, uncertain, derived from narrators whose standpoints are always (...) situated, particular, and uncertain, but open to comparison and reinterpretation. Reading is thus a model for knowing in both morality and clinical medicine. While principles remain essential to bioethics and science must always inform good clinical practice, the tendency to collapse morality into principles and medicine into science impoverishes both practices. Moral knowing is not separable from clinical judgment. While ethics must be open to discussion and interpretation by patients, families, and society, it is nevertheless substantively and epistemologically an inextricable part of a physician's clinical practice. (shrink)
Medical ethics, principles, persons, and perspectives is discussed under three headings: History, Theory, and Practice. Under Theory, the author will say something about some different approaches to the study and discussion of ethical issues in medicine—especially those based on principles, persons, or perspectives. Under Practice, the author will discuss how one perspectives based approach, hermeneutics, might help in relation first to everyday ethical issues and then to public controversies. In that context some possible advantages of moving from controversy to conversation (...) will be explored; and that will then be illustrated with reference to a current controversy about the use of human embryos in stem cell therapy research. The paper begins with history, and it begins in the author’s home city of Edinburgh. (shrink)
Concepts such as disease and health can be difficult to define precisely. Part of the reason for this is that they embody value judgments and are rooted in metaphor. The precise meaning of terms like health, healing and wholeness is likely to remain elusive, because the disconcerting openness of the outlook gained from experience alone resists the reduction of first-person judgments (including those of religion) to third-person explanations (including those of science).
This paper raises the questions: 'What do we expect from nursing ethics?' and 'Is the literature of nursing ethics any different from that of medical ethics?' It is suggested that rather than develop nursing ethics as a separate field writers in nursing ethics should take a lead in making the patient the central focus of health care ethics. The case is made for empirical work in health care ethics and it is suggested that a good way of setting about this (...) is to ask practising nurses about the real ethical problems they encounter. (shrink)
Abortion is forbidden under normal circumstances by nearly all the major world religions. Traditionally, abortion was not deemed permissible by Muslim scholars. Shiite scholars considered it forbidden after implantation of the fertilised ovum. However, Sunni scholars have held various opinions on the matter, but all agreed that after 4 months gestation abortion was not permitted. In addition, classical Islamic scholarship had only considered threats to maternal health as a reason for therapeutic abortion. Recently, scholars have begun to consider the effect (...) of severe fetal deformities on the mother, the families and society. This has led some scholars to reconsider the prohibition on abortion in limited circumstances. This article reviews the Islamic basis for the prohibition of abortion and the reasons for its justification. Contemporary rulings from leading Shiite scholars and from the Sunni school of thought are presented and reviewed. The status of abortion in Muslim countries is reviewed, with special emphasis on the therapeutic abortion law passed by the Iranian Parliament in 2003. This law approved therapeutic abortion before 16 weeks of gestation under limited circumstances, including medical conditions related to fetal and maternal health. Recent measures in Iran provide an opportunity for the Muslim scholars in other countries to review their traditional stance on abortion. (shrink)
An Institute of Medical Ethics working party argues that an ethically desirable relationship of mutual empowerment between patient and clinician is more likely to be achieved if patients understand the ground rules of medical confidentiality. It identifies and illustrates ambiguities in the General Medical Council's guidance on AIDS and confidentiality, and relates this to the practice of different doctors and specialties. Matters might be clarified, it suggests, by identifying moral factors which tend to recur in medical decisions about maintaining or (...) breaching confidentiality. The working party argues that two such factors are particularly important: the patient's need to exercise informed choice and the doctor's primary responsibility to his or her own patients. (shrink)
This article examines Aristotle's model of deliberation as inquiry (zêtêsis), arguing that Aristotle does not treat the presumption of open alternatives as a precondition for rational deliberation. Deliberation aims to uncover acts that are up to us and conducive to our ends; it essentially consists in causal mapping. Unlike the comparative model presupposed in the literature on deliberation, Aristotle's model can account for the virtuous agent's deliberation, as well as deliberation with a view to “satisficing” desires and deliberation that fails (...) to uncover any expedient course of action. Aristotle's account of the constraints governing rational deliberation is furthermore not incompatibilist—for all Aristotle says, we may deliberate rationally despite being committed to the truth of determinism. (shrink)
Statements on issues in biomedical ethics, purporting to represent international interests, have been put forth by numerous groups. Most of these groups are composed of thinkers in the tradition of European secularism, and do not take into account the values of other ethical systems. One fifth of the world’s population is accounted for by Islam, which is a universal religion, with more than 1400 years of scholarship. Although many values are held in common by secular ethical systems and Islam, their (...) inferences are different. The question, “Is it possible to derive a truly universal declaration of biomedical ethics?” is discussed here by examining the value and extent of personal autonomy in Western and Islamic biomedical ethical constructs. These constructs are then tested vis-à-vis the issue of abortion. It is concluded that having a universal declaration of biomedical ethics in practice is not possible, although there are many conceptual similarities and agreements between secular and Islamic value systems, unless a radical paradigm shift occurs in segments of the world’s deliberative bodies. The appellation “universal” should not be used on deliberative statements unless the ethical values of all major schools of thought are satisfied. (shrink)
This study compares Australian marketers with those in the United States along lines that are particular to the study of ethics. The test measured two different moral philosophies, idealism and relativism, and compared perceptions of ethical problems, ethical intentions, and corporate ethical values. According to Hofstede''s cultural typologies, there should be little difference between American and Australian marketers, but the study did find significant differences. Australians tended to be more idealistic and more relativistic than Americans and the other results were (...) mixed, making it difficult to generalize about the effects of moral philosophies on the components of ethical decision-making measured here. This is an important finding; as firms become increasingly more globalized, marketers will more often be involved in cross-cultural ethical dilemmas and it seems natural to assume that similar cultures will have similar ethical orientations. That assumption may well prove erroneous. (shrink)
An Institute of Medical Ethics working party supports the view that explicit permission should normally be sought in the case of testing for HIV antibody. It discusses this in relation to anonymised HIV testing for epidemiological purposes, concluding that this is to be welcomed, given certain safeguards. It next argues that pregnant women may have a greater and more immediate need than others to know their HIV status. It concludes that this need does not justify testing them without their permission, (...) but can be met by voluntary diagnostic testing on an 'opting-out' basis, supported by adequate briefing. (shrink)
The aim of this literature study was to suggest a value ground for nursing anchored in two ethical principles: the principle of human value and the right to experience a meaningful life. Previous nursing research between the years 2000 and 2009 was analysed. Presented values suggested in this value ground are thus in line with the nursing context and science of today. Statements within ethical literature have been used in order to formulate arguments aimed at supporting the values that were (...) found in the study. In the literature study six values were found: trust, nearness, sympathy, support, knowledge and responsibility. These values hold equal status and are not presented in hierarchical order. They vary due to the persons involved, nursing situations and cultural surroundings, but have the common requirement of being non-excluding. In order to implement the values within the value ground, two prerequisites are discussed and claimed as essential: ethical dialogue and a caring encounter between care provider and patients. (shrink)
Using professional accountants as respondents in Hong Kong, this study strives to develop a model to depict the effect of ethical reasoning on the relationships between guanxi and auditors; behaviour in an audit conflict situation. The results of the study found that (1) there is a significant relationship between an auditor's ethical judgement and one's moral cognitive development; (2) there is a relationship between an auditor's ethical judgement and the existence of guanxi; and (3) the impact of guanxi on an (...) auditor's judgement is depending on the level of ethical reasoning. (shrink)
The authors report and comment on student reactions to a clinical example of moral choice in the microallocation of scarce resources. Four patients require dialysis simultaneously, but only one kidney machine is available. What moral, as opposed to clinical, criteria are available to determine who should have priority?
'The law imposes the duty of care: but the standard of care is a matter of medical judgment'. So says Lord Scarman, outlining the hitherto accepted 'Bolam' standard, in his recent speech in the House of Lords decision of Sidaway v Bethlem Royal Hospital, reflecting earlier judicial dicta suggesting that it is for the medical profession rather than the courts to determine whether or not a medical practitioner has achieved the required standard of care (1). It is suggested here that (...) this concept is bad in principle, and that the weight of judicial authority is against it. (shrink)
Many critics of commercial surrogate motherhood argue that it violates the rights of children. In this paper, I respond to several versions of this objection. The most common version claims that surrogacy involves child‐selling. I argue that while proponents of surrogacy have generally failed to provide an adequate response to this objection, it can be overcome. After showing that the two most prominent arguments for the child‐selling objection fail, I explain how the commissioning couple can acquire parental rights by paying (...) the surrogate only for her reproductive labor. My explanation appeals to the idea that parental rights are acquired by those who have claims over the reproductive labor that produces the child, not necessarily by those who actually perform the labor. This account clarifies how commercial surrogacy differs from commercial adoption. In the final section of the paper, I consider and reject three further child‐based objections to commercial surrogacy: that it establishes a market in children's attributes, that it requires courts to stray from the best interests standard in determining custodial rights, and that it requires the surrogate to neglect her parental responsibilities. Since each of these objections fails, children's rights probably do not pose an obstacle to the acceptability of commercial surrogacy arrangements. (shrink)
This commentary focuses on two moral values implied by the case study but not specified in the working party's conclusions, namely equitable treatment of the most vulnerable and the value of political government.