In The Body of Compassion, Joel Shuman presents an important, new theological treatment of contemporary bioethics, weaving together personal experience, a critical treatise on contemporary bioethics, and an exploration of a Christian theological alternative.The author first draws the reader into a consideration of the current state of bioethics by relating the story of his grandfather, a hard-working family man who died a solitary death, unaccompanied by loved ones, in the unfamiliar and sterile world of a hospital. Troubled by the way (...) his grandfather died, Shuman takes the reader along as he explores how modern medicine has distanced itself from dealing with people as living beings beyond their immediate physicality. He examines how various approaches to bioethics over the past twenty years have tried to remedy this problem by prescribing certain standards for treatment and how each of these ultimately has fallen short due to the lack of “a teleological concern for the body”—i.e., to trying to understand what the body is actually for in a larger context. From this point, Shuman deftly moves to a discussion of the centrality of the body to Christianity, focusing on how baptism, participation in the liturgy, and the partaking of the Eucharist all serve to unite Christians as one in the body of Christ. For Christians, the author argues, the body does not just belong to the individual but rather is one with the community of the Church. With this in mind, Shuman proposes a new kind of bioethics for Christians, where care for the body of Christ becomes the model of how we should care for and receive care from each other.This fresh and thought-provoking book is sure to be of interest to ethicists, medical professionals, and everyone who is troubled by places where science and religion intersect and seem to conflict. (shrink)
Autonomy has been the central principle underpinning changes which have affected the practice of medicine in recent years. Medical education is undergoing changes as well, many of which are underpinned, at least implicitly, by increasing concern for autonomy. Some universities have embarked on graduate courses which utilize problem-based learning (PBL) techniques to teach all areas, including medicalethics. I argue that PBL is a desirable method for teaching and learning in medicalethics. It is desirable (...) because the nature of ethical enquiry is highly compatible with the learning processes which characterize PBL. But it is also desirable because it should help keep open the question of what autonomy really is, and how it should operate within the sphere of medical practice and medical education. (shrink)
This article develops a civic republican approach to medicalethics. It outlines civic republican concerns about the domination that arises from subjection to an arbitrary power of interference, while suggesting republican remedies to such domination in healthcare. These include proposals for greater review, challenge and pre-authorisation of medical power. It extends this analysis by providing a civic republican account of assistive arbitrary power, showing how it can create similar problems within both formal and informal relationships of care, (...) and offering strategies for tackling it. Two important objections to civic republican medicalethics—that it overvalues independence and political participation in healthcare—are also considered and rebutted. (shrink)
The chronic worldwide lack of organs for transplantation and the continuing improvement of strategies for in situ organ preservation have led to renewed interest in elective non-therapeutic ventilation of potential organ donors. Two types of situation may be eligible for elective intensive care: patients definitely evolving towards brain death and patients suitable as controlled non-heart beating organ donors after life-supporting therapies have been assessed as futile and withdrawn. Assessment of the ethical acceptability and the risks of these strategies is essential. (...) We here offer such an ethical assessment using the four principles of medicalethics of Beauchamp and Childress applying them in their broadest sense so as to include patients and their families, their caregivers, other potential recipients of intensive care, and indeed society as a whole. The main ethical problems emerging are the definition of beneficence for the potential organ donor, the dilemma between the duty to respect a dying patient's autonomy and the duty not to harm him/her, and the possible psychological and social harm for families, caregivers other potential recipients of therapeutic intensive care, and society more generally. Caution is expressed about the ethical acceptability of elective non-therapeutic ventilation, along with some proposals for precautionary measures to be taken if it is to be implemented. (shrink)
Increasing European co-operation must take place in many areas, including medicalethics. Against the background of common cultural norms and pluralistic variation within political traditions, religion and lifestyles, Europe will have to converge towards unity within the field of medicalethics. This article examines how such convergence might develop with respect to four major areas: European research ethics committees, democratic health systems, the human genome project and rules for stopping futile treatments.
A number of recent publications by the philosopher David Seedhouse are discussed. Although medicine is an eminently ethical enterprise, the technical and ethical aspects of health care practices can be distinguished, therefore justifying the existence of medicalethics and its teaching as a specific part of every medical curriculum. The goal of teaching medicalethics is to make health care practitioners aware of the essential ethical aspects of their work. Furthermore, the contention that rational bioethics (...) is a fruitless enterprise because it analyses non-rational social events seems neither theoretically tenable nor to be borne out by actual practice. Medicalethics in particular and bioethics in general, constitute a field of expertise that must make itself understandable and convincing to relevant audiences in health care. (shrink)
Although ethics is an essential component of undergraduate medical education, research suggests current medicalethics curricula face considerable challenges in improving students’ ethical reasoning. This paper discusses these challenges and introduces a promising new mode of graduate and professional ethics instruction for overcoming them. We begin by describing common ethics curricula, focusing in particular on established problems with current approaches. Next, we describe a novel method of ethics education and assessment for medical (...) students that we have devised, the MedicalEthics Bowl. Finally, we suggest pedagogical advantages to MEBs when compared to other ethics curricula. (shrink)
This new edition of Law and MedicalEthics continues to chart the ever-widening field that the topics cover. The interplay between the health caring professions and the public during the period intervening since the last edition has, perhaps, been mainly dominated by wide-ranging changes in the administration of the National Health Service and of the professions themselves but these have been paralleled by important developments in medical jurisprudence.
How can Christian ethics make a significant contribution to health care ethics in today's Western, pluralistic society? Robin Gill examines the 'moral gaps' in secular accounts of health care ethics and the tensions within specifically theological accounts. He explores the healing stories in the Synoptic Gospels, identifying four core virtues present within them - compassion, care, faith and humility - that might bring greater depth to a purely secular interpretation of health care ethics. Each of these (...) virtues is examined in turn, using a range of topical issues including health care rationing, genetics, HIV/AIDS, withholding/withdrawing nutrition from PVS patients, and the empirical evidence which suggests a connection between religion and health. Professor Gill also argues that these four virtues are shared by other major religious and humanistic traditions and that, together with secular principles, they can enrich health care ethics even in a pluralistic society. (shrink)
The Italian code of medical deontology recently approved stipulates that physicians have the duty to inform the patient of each unwanted event and its causes, and to identify, report and evaluate adverse events and errors. Thus the obligation to supply information continues to widen, in some way extending beyond the doctor-patient relationship to become an essential tool for improving the quality of professional services.
_Just Doctoring_ draws the doctor-patient relationship out of the consulting room and into the middle of the legal and political arenas where it more and more frequently appears. Traditionally, medicalethics has focused on the isolated relationship of physician to patient in a setting that has left the physician virtually untouched by market constraints or government regulation. Arguing that changes in health care institutions and legal attention to patient rights have made conventional approaches obsolete, Troyen Brennan points the (...) way to a new, more aware and engaged medicalethics. The medical profession is no longer isolated, even theoretically, from the liberal, market-dominated state. Old ideas of physician beneficence and altruism must make way for a justice-based medicalethics, assuming a relationship between equals more compatible with liberal political philosophy. Brennan offers clinical examples of many of today's most challenging medical problems—from informed consent to care rationing and the repercussions of the HIV epidemic—and gives his recommendation for a new ethical perspective. This lively and controversial plea for a rethinking of medicalethics goes right to the heart of medical care at the end of the twentieth century. (shrink)
A physician says, "I have an ethical obligation never to cause the death of a patient," another responds, "My ethical obligation is to relieve pain even if the patient dies." The current argument over the role of physicians in assisting patients to die constantly refers to the ethical duties of the profession. References to the Hippocratic Oath are often heard. Many modern problems, from assisted suicide to accessible health care, raise questions about the traditional ethics of medicine and the (...)medical profession. However, few know what the traditional ethics are and how they came into being. This book provides a brief tour of the complex story of medicalethics evolved over centuries in both Western and Eastern culture. It sets this story in the social and cultural contexts in which the work of healing was practiced and suggests that, behind the many different perceptions about the ethical duties of physicians, certain themes appear constantly, and may be relevant to modern debates. The book begins with the Hippocratic medicine of ancient Greece, moves through the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Enlightenment in Europe, and the long history of Indian and Chinese medicine, ending as the problems raised modern medical science and technology challenge the settled ethics of the long tradition. (shrink)
In Nigeria, medical education remains focused on the traditional clinical and basic medical science components, leaving students to develop moral attitudes passively through observation and intuition. In order to ascertain the adequacy of this method of moral formations, we studied the opinions of medical students in a Nigerian university towards medicalethics training. Self administered semi-structured questionnaires were completed by final year medical students of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. There were (...) 82 (64.1%) male and 44 (34.4%) female respondents. The median age was 26 years. Most students (80.5%) responded that they did not receive enough training in medicalethics. The ethics instructions they received did not sufficiently prepare them for the ethical challenges they came across as medical students. Though inadequate, the few hours of lecture and discussion on human values and professional etiquette which they received positively influenced their moral reasoning. They identified end-of-life issues, dealing with financial issues and handling socio-cultural beliefs of patients and relations as some challenges that medical doctors are ill-prepared for by their current training. Most, 85.9% believed that formal medicalethics education would be worthwhile as it would enhance the making of complete and better doctors. They recommended incorporating bioethics as a course in the medical school curriculum. Nigerian medical students encounter ethical challenges for which they have not been adequately trained to resolve. They recommended formal medicalethics training in their curriculum and a uniform bioethics programme in the country. (shrink)
Ethics has an established place within the medical curriculum. However notable differences exist in the programme characteristics of different schools of medicine. This paper addresses the main differences in the curricula of medical schools in South East Europe regarding education in medicalethics and bioethics, with a special emphasis on research ethics, and proposes a model curriculum which incorporates significant topics in all three fields. Teaching curricula of Medical Schools in Bulgaria, Bosnia and (...) Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro were acquired and a total of 14 were analyzed. Teaching hours for medicalethics and/or bioethics and year of study in which the course is taught were also analyzed. The average number of teaching hours in medicalethics and bioethics is 27.1 h per year. The highest national average number of teaching hours was in Croatia, and the lowest was in Serbia. In the countries of the European Union the mean number of hours given to ethics teaching throughout the complete curriculum was 44. In South East Europe, the maximum number of teaching hours is 60, while the minimum number is 10 teaching hours. Research ethics topics also show a considerable variance within the regional medical schools. Approaches to teaching research ethics vary, even within the same country. The proposed model for education in this area is based on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Bioethics Core Curriculum. The model curriculum consists of topics in medicalethics, bioethics and research ethics, as a single course, over 30 teaching hours. (shrink)
This article seeks to examine how religious ideas that are not the focus of a particular halakhic question become the crux of the ruling, thereby molding it and dictating its bias. We will attempt to demonstrate this through a study of Jewish medicalethics, based on some of the rulings of one of the greatest halakhic decisors of the previous generation: Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg (1915–2006). Rabbi Waldenberg molds his rulings on the basis of a religious principle asserting (...) that the legitimacy of any medical procedure is qualified and limited. Rabbi Waldenberg rejects certain accepted medical practices, including plastic surgery, in vitro fertilization, and organ transplants. Even if these procedures are regarded by other halakhic decisors as being legitimate, for Rabbi Waldenberg they are ethically and religiously improper, and therefore they are halakhically forbidden. (shrink)
The purpose of this essay is to show how, on a wide variety of issues, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein broke new ground with the established Orthodox rabbinic consensus and blazed a new trail in Jewish medicalethics. Rabbi Feinstein took power away from the rabbis and let patients decide their treatment, he opened the door for a Jewish approach to palliative care, he supported the use of new technologies to aid in reproduction, he endorsed altruistic living organ donation and (...) recognized brain death (thus laying the groundwork for Orthodox Jewish acceptance of heart transplantation), he downplayed the value of social worth in triage decisions, and was a fierce defender of the rights of the fetus. I develop broader theological principles from Rabbi Feinstein's ethical positions and compare them to those of his Jewish and Christian contemporaries. (shrink)
The American Medical Association enacted its Code of Ethics in 1847, the first such national codification. In this volume, a distinguished group of experts from the fields of medicine, bioethics, and history of medicine reflect on the development of medicalethics in the United States, using historical analyses as a springboard for discussions of the problems of the present, including what the editors call "a sense of moral crisis precipitated by the shift from a system of (...) fee-for-service medicine to a system of fee-for-system medicine, better known as 'managed care.'" The authors begin with a look at how the medical profession began to consider ethical issues in the 1800s and subsequent developments in the 1900s. They then address the sociological, historical, ethical, and legal aspects of the practice of medicine. Later chapters discuss current and future challenges to medicalethics and professional values. Appendixes display various versions of the AMA's Code of Ethics as it has evolved over time. Contributors: George J. Annas, J.D., M.P.H., Arthur Isak Applbaum, Ph.D., Robert B. Baker, Ph.D., Chester R. Burns, M.D., Ph.D., Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., Alexander Morgan Capron, J.D., Christine K. Cassel, M.D., Linda L. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., Eliot L. Freidson, Ph.D., Albert R. Jonsen, Ph.D., Stephen R. Latham, J.D., Ph.D., Susan E. Lederer, Ph.D., Florencia Luna, Ph.D., Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D., Charles E. Rosenberg, Ph.D., Mark Siegler, M.D., Rosemary A. Stevens, Ph.D., Robert M. Tenery, Jr., M.D., Robert M. Veatch, Ph.D., John Harley Warner, Ph.D., Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D. (shrink)
This rich collection, popular among teachers and students alike, provides an in-depth look at major cases that have shaped the field of medicalethics. The book presents each famous (or infamous) case using extensive historical and contextual background, and then proceeds to illuminate it by careful discussion of pertinent philosophical theories and legal and ethical issues.
Introduction -- Historical perspectives of medicalethics -- The medicalethics Renaissance: a brief assessment -- Risk disclosure/'informed consent' -- Consent, control and minors: Gillick and beyond -- Sterilisation/best interests: legislation intervenes -- The end of life: total abrogation -- Medicalethics in government-commissioned reports -- Conclusion.
The notion of respect for autonomy dominates bioethical discussion, though what qualifies precisely as autonomous action is notoriously elusive. In recent decades, the notion of autonomy in medical contexts has often been defined in opposition to the notion of autonomy favoured by theoretical philosophers. Where many contemporary theoretical accounts of autonomy place emphasis on a condition of “authenticity”, the special relation a desire must have to the self, bioethicists often regard such a focus as irrelevant to the concerns of (...)medicalethics, and too stringent for use in practical contexts. I argue, however, that the very condition of authenticity that forms a focus in theoretical philosophy is also essential to autonomy and competence in medicalethics. After tracing the contours of contemporary authenticity-based theories of autonomy, I consider and respond to objections against the incorporation of a notion of authenticity into accounts of autonomy designed for use in medical contexts. By looking at the typical problems that arise when making judgments concerning autonomy or competence in a medical setting, I reveal the need for a condition of authenticity—as a means of protecting choices, particularly high-stakes choices, from being restricted or overridden on the basis of intersubjective disagreement. I then turn to the treatment of false and contestable beliefs, arguing that it is only through reference to authenticity that we can make important distinctions in this domain. Finally, I consider a potential problem with my proposed approach; its ability to deal with anorexic and depressive desires. (shrink)
ABSTRACTModern medical practice is becoming increasingly pluralistic and diverse. Hence, cultural competency and awareness are given more focus in physician training seminars and within medical school curricula. A renewed interest in describing the varied ethical constructs of specific populations has taken place within medical literature. This paper aims to provide an overview of Islamic MedicalEthics. Beginning with a definition of Islamic MedicalEthics, the reader will be introduced to the scope of Islamic (...)MedicalEthics literature, from that aimed at developing moral character to writings grounded in Islamic law. In the latter form, there is an attempt to derive an Islamic perspective on bioethical issues such as abortion, gender relations within the patient‐doctor relationship, end‐of‐life care and euthanasia. It is hoped that the insights gained will aid both clinicians and ethicists to better understand the Islamic paradigm of medicalethics and thereby positively affect patient care. (shrink)
The Cambridge World History of MedicalEthics is the first comprehensive scholarly account of the global history of medicalethics. Offering original interpretations of the field by leading bioethicists and historians of medicine, it will serve as the essential point of departure for future scholarship in the field. The volumes reconceptualize the history of medicalethics through the creation of new categories, including the life cycle; discourses of religion, philosophy, and bioethics; and the relationship (...) between medicalethics and the state, which includes a historical reexamination of the ethics of apartheid, colonialism, communism, health policy, imperialism, militarism, Nazi medicine, Nazi "medicalethics," and research ethics. Also included are the first global chronology of persons and texts; the first concise biographies of major figures in medicalethics; and the first comprehensive bibliography of the history of medicalethics. An extensive index guides readers to topics, texts, and proper names. (shrink)
Miracle Max, it seems, is the only remaining miracle worker in all of Florin. Among other things, this means that he (unlike anyone else) can resurrect the recently dead, at least in certain circumstances. Max’s peculiar talents come with significant perks (for example, he can basically set his own prices!), but they also raise a number of ethical dilemmas that range from the merely amusing to the truly perplexing: -/- How much about Max’s “methods” does he need to reveal to (...) his patients? Is it really OK for Max to lie about Valerie’s being a witch, even though she really isn’t? Just how much of the “truth” does Max have to tell his patients? -/- Let’s suppose that Humperdinck had offered Max his old job back. Would it have been OK for Max to accept this offer? What about if Humperdinck wanted him to do experiments at “the Zoo”? -/- Is Max obligated to offer his services to everyone who needs them, such as the (mostly) dead Westley and friends? Or is he free to pick and choose? -/- In this chapter, I’ll consider how these questions might be addressed using concepts of medicalethics. As it turns out, Max’s dilemmas are not too different from the sorts of dilemmas that many medical professionals encounter in their daily lives, and exploring how Max could (or should) respond to them can help us figure out what we can do here in the “real” world. (shrink)
This book is intended as a practical introduction to the ethical problems which doctors and other health professionals can expect to encounter in their practice. It is divided into three parts: ethical foundations, clinical ethics, and medicine and society. The authors incorporate new chapters on topics such as theories of medicalethics, cultural aspects of medicine, genetic dilemmas, aging, dementia and mortality, research ethics, justice and health care (including an examination of resource allocation), and medicine, (...) class='Hi'>ethics and medical law. MedicalEthics also covers issues having to do with the beginning and end of life, as well as ethical questions surrounding the human body and the use of human tissue, confidentiality and AIDS, care of the mentally ill, and the implications of genetic technology. Each chapter presents a range of ethical views, drawing both from traditional philosophy and the most recent contemporary trends. The theoretical discussion is extended and illustrated by case studies and examples. This book is a non-technical guide to ethics written with the needs of medical students and medical practitioners in mind. It will also appeal to students and practitioners of allied health professions, and for all users of health care services. (shrink)
Medicalethics changed dramatically in the past 30 years because physicians and humanists actively engaged each other in discussions that sometimes led to confrontation and controversy, but usually have improved the quality of medical decision-making. Before then medicalethics had been isolated for almost two centuries from the larger philosophical, social, and religious controversies of the time. There was, however, an earlier period where leaders in medicine and in the humanities worked closely together and both (...) fields were richer for it. This volume begins with the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment when professors of medicine such as John Gregory, Edward Percival, and the American, Benjamin Rush, were close friends of philosophers like David Hume, Adam Smith, and Thomas Reid. They continually exchanged views on matters of ethics with each other in print, at meetings of elite intellectual groups, and at the dinner table. Then something happened, physicians and humanists quit talking with each other. In searching for the causes of the collapse, this book identifies shifts in the social class of physicians, developments in medical science, and changes in the patterns of medical education. Only in the past three decades has the dialogue resumed as physicians turned to humanists for help just when humanists wanted their work to be relevant to real-life social problems. Again, the book asks why, finding answers in the shift from acute to chronic disease as the dominant pattern of illness, the social rights revolution of the 1960's, and the increasing dissonance between physician ethics and ethics outside medicine. The book tells the critical story of how the breakdown in communication between physicians and humanists occurred and how it was repaired when new developments in medicine together with a social revolution forced the leaders of these two fields to resume their dialogue. (shrink)
The “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and the “Geneva Declaration” by the World Medical Association, both in 1948, were preceded by the foundation of the United Nations in New York (1945), the World Medical Association in London (1946) and the World Health Organization in Geneva (1948). After the end of World War II the community of nations strove to achieve and sustain their primary goals of peace and security, as well as their basic premise, namely the health of (...) human beings. All these associations were well aware of the crimes by medicine, in particular by the accused Nazi physicians at the Nuremberg Doctors Trial (1946/47, sentence: August 1947). During the first conference of the World Medical Association (September 1947) issues of medicalethics played a major role: and a new document was drafted concerning the values of the medical profession. After the catastrophe of the War and the criminal activities of scientists, the late 1940s saw increased scrutiny paid to fundamental questions of human rights and medicalethics, which are still highly relevant for today’s medicine and morality. The article focuses on the development of medicalethics and human rights reflected in the statement of important persons, codes and institutions in the field. (shrink)
Disciplining doctors : medical courts of honour and professional conduct -- Medical confidentiality : the debate on private versus public interests -- Patient information and consent : self-determination versus paternalism -- Duties and habitus of a doctor : the literature on medicalethics.
This collection brings together original essays demonstrating the cutting edge of philosophical research in medicalethics. With contributions from a range of established and up-and-coming authors, it examines topics at the forefront of medical technology, such as ethical issues raised by developments in how we research stem cells and genetic engineering, as well as new questions raised by methodological changes in how we approach medicalethics.
Business Ethics and medicalethics are in principle compatible: In particular, the tools of business ethics can be useful to those doing healthcare ethics. Health care could be conducted as a business and maintain its moral core.
The Socratic method has a long history in teaching philosophy and mathematics, marked by such names as Karl Weierstra, Leonard Nelson and Gustav Heckmann. Its basic idea is to encourage the participants of a learning group (of pupils, students, or practitioners) to work on a conceptual, ethical or psychological problem by their own collective intellectual effort, without a textual basis and without substantial help from the teacher whose part it is mainly to enforce the rigid procedural rules designed to ensure (...) a fruitful, diversified, open and consensus-oriented thought process. Several features of the Socratic procedure, especially in the canonical form given to it by Heckmann, are highly attractive for the teaching of medicalethics in small groups: the strategy of starting from relevant singular individual experiences, interpreting and cautiously generalizing them in a process of inter-subjective confrontation and confirmation, the duty of non-directivity on the part of the teacher in regard to the contents of the discussion, the necessity, on the part of the participants, to make explicit both their own thinking and the way they understand the thought of others, the strict separation of content level and meta level discussion and, not least, the wise use made of the emotional and motivational resources developing in the group process. Experience shows, however, that the canonical form of the Socratic group suffers from a number of drawbacks which may be overcome by loosening the rigidity of some of the rules. These concern mainly the injunction against substantial interventions on the part of the teacher and the insistence on consensus formation rooted in Leonard Nelson's Neo-Kantian Apriorism. (shrink)
The writings of the Scottish physician and philosopher John Gregory play an important role in the modern codification of medicalethics. It is therefore appropriate to use his work as a historical example in approaching the question how elements of aesthetics were incorporated in 18th century medicalethics. The concept of a Gentleman is pivotal to the entire medicalethics of John Gregory as it provides him with the ethical source of the duty to (...) patients. Gregory makes the trustworthiness of the physician a central point of his medicalethics, and it is in this context that Gregory declares good manners as an essential moral quality of a physician. This paper delineates how good manners are ethically justified in Gregory's medicalethics and concludes with an exploration of the importance of Gregory's conception for present day reflection on the inherence of aesthetics in ethical determinations. (shrink)
Phronesis has become a buzzword in contemporary medicalethics. Yet, the use of this single term conceals a number of significant conceptual controversies based on divergent philosophical assumptions. This paper explores three of them: on phronesis as universalist or relativist, generalist or particularist, and natural/painless or painful/ambivalent. It also reveals tensions between Alasdair MacIntyre’s take on phronesis, typically drawn upon in professional ethics discourses, and Aristotle’s original concept. The paper offers these four binaries as a possible analytical (...) framework for classifying and evaluating accounts of phronesis in the medicalethics literature. It argues that to make sense of phronesis as a putative ideal in professional medicalethics—for example, with the further aim of crafting interventions to cultivate phronesis in medicalethics education—the preliminary question of which conception of phronesis is most serviceable for the aim in question needs to be answered. The paper identifies considerable lack of clarity in the current discursive field on phronesis and suggests how that shortcoming can be ameliorated. (shrink)
Available from UMI in association with The British Library. ;Typically we maintain two incompatible standards towards right action and good character, and the tension between these polarities creates the paradox of moral luck. In practice we regard actions as right or wrong, and character as good or bad, partly according to what happens as a result of the agent's decision. Yet we also think that people should not be held responsible for matters beyond their control. ;This split underpins Kant's assertion (...) that only the good will is securely good, that its goodness is impervious to outcome ill-luck. Some commentators, such as Martha Nussbaum and to some extent Bernard Williams, think that this simply writes off the paradox. Williams asserts that the paradox is insoluble, and that its inescapability threatens the notion of agent responsibility. In contrast Thomas Nagel argues that agents' most cherished projects may be indeed be subject to luck, but that does not mean that their deepest motivations are moral. This, I suggest, is one of several means whereby we might limit the effect of the paradox without denying that the tension exists. But I also argue that it is wrong to accuse Kant of ignoring the paradox. ;Ethical consequentialists, on the other hand, appear to have no problem with moral luck, because the paradox depends on a dichotomy between the outside world and the locus of moral worth in the individual agent. But this turns out not to be true. The problem of moral luck is not some strange Kantian fixation, but a general dilemma: a variant on what Nagel terms "the problem of excess objectivity" which cuts across all of ethics and metaphysics. ;Retaining a broadly Kantian notion of agent-responsibility, but limiting what agents are responsible for, requires us to delineate the realm of ethics more narrowly than has been done by those who believe that the rational and/or prudential are coterminous with the ethical. This strategy for minimising the paradox's impact is explored in two areas from medicalethics, the allocation of scarce medical resources and informed consent, and two from public policy, secrecy and nuclear deterrence. Throughout, the analysis seeks to test Nagel's maxim that the best we can hope for is to act in such a manner that we would not have to revise our opinion of how we should have acted once the consequences of our actions become apparent. (shrink)
Efforts to reform medical education have emphasized the need to formalize instruction in medicalethics. However, the discipline of medicalethics education is still searching for an acceptable identity among North American medical schools; in these schools, no real consensus exists on its definition. Medical educators are grappling with not only what to teach (content) in this regard, but also with how to teach (process) ethics to the physicians of tomorrow. A literature (...) review focused on medicalethics education among North American medical schools reveals that instruction in ethics is considered to be vitally important for medical students. Agreement by medical educators on a possible core curriculum in ethics should be explored. To develop such a curriculum, deliberative curriculum inquiry by means of a targeted Delphi technique may be a useful methodology. However, the literature reveals that medical curricular change is notoriously slow. General implications for medicalethics education as a discipline are discussed. (shrink)
How is the concept of patient care adapting in response to rapid changes in healthcare delivery and advances in medical technology? How are questions of ethical responsibility and social diversity shaping the definitions of healthcare? In this topical study, scholars in anthropology, nursing theory, law and ethics explore questions involving the changing relationship between patient care and medicalethics. Contributors address issues that challenge the boundaries of patient care, such as: · HIV-related care and research · (...) the impact of new reproductive technologies · preventative healthcare · technological breakthroughs that are changing personal-caring relationships. Chapters range from a consideration of the practicalities of nursing and family healthcare to a debate about ‘universal human needs’ and patients’ rights. This book is a provocative exploration of the ways in which healthcare models are socially constructed. It will be of interest to policy-makers, medical practitioners and administrators, as well as students of sociology, anthropology and social policy. (shrink)
Medicalethics could be better understood if some basic theoretical aspects of practices in health care are analysed. By discussing the underlying ethical principles that govern medical practice, the student should also become familiar with the notion that medicalethics is much more than the external application of socially accepted moral standards. Professions in general and medicine in particular have internal values that command their moral virtuosity at the same time as their technical excellence. Three (...) examples where clinical practice can be clearly shown to require an ethical analysis are given: medical praxiology illustrates the motives, means and aims of physicians and patients; clinical decision-making as a practical syllogism that reaches prescriptive conclusions based on medical knowledge and the patient's wishes/intentions. Finally, diagnostics as an ethical bayesian approach is discussed, where the patient informedly decides the benefits and risks of further testing. (shrink)