Commentary: A Consensus about “Consensus”?

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 27 (4):328-331 (1999)
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In “Bioethics and the Whole: Pluralism, Consensus, and the Transmutation of Bioethical Methods into Gold,” Patricia Martin identifies themes common to three emerging approaches to clinical bioethics--clinical pragmatism, ethics facilitation, and mediation-in order to develop an “ethical consensus method” that can serve as a “practical, step-by-step guide” for decision making She is to be applauded both for her identification of themes common to these three approaches and for her contribution to what we hope will be a growing literature on practical methods for problem solving in clinical bioethics that take seriously the ideal of consensus. After a few preliminary remarks concerning Martin's working model, we focus the majority of our commentary on the notion of “consensus,” which is at the heart of her “ethical consensus method,” and the three approaches from which it is drawn.



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