The contribution of Kantian moral theory to contemporary medical ethics: A critical analysis

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 8 (1):5-18 (2005)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Kantian deontology is one of three classic moral theories, among virtue ethics and consequentialism. Issues in medical ethics are frequently addressed within a Kantian paradigm, at least – although not exclusively – in European medical ethics. At the same time, critical voices have pointed to deficits of Kantian moral philosophy which must be examined and discussed. It is argued that taking concrete situations and complex relationships into account is of paramount importance in medical ethics. Encounters between medical or nursing staff and patients are rarely symmetrical relationships between autonomous and rational agents. Kantian ethics, the criticism reads, builds on the lofty ideal of such a relationship. In addition to the charge of an individualist and rationalist focus on autonomy, Kantian ethics has been accused of excluding those not actually in possession of these properties or of its rigorism. It is said to be focussed on laws and imperatives to an extent that it cannot appreciate the complex nuances of real conflicts. As a more detailed analysis will show, these charges are inadequate in at least some regards. This will be demonstrated by drawing on the Kantian notion of autonomy, the role of maxims and judgment and the conception of duties, as well as the role of emotions. Nevertheless the objections brought forward against Kantian moral theory can help determine, with greater precision, its strengths and shortcomings as an approach to current problems in medical ethics.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,923

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

How philosophy of medicine has changed medical ethics.Robert Veatch - 2006 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 31 (6):585 – 600.
A Kantian approach to codes of ethics.Jacquie L'Etang - 1992 - Journal of Business Ethics 11 (10):737 - 744.
Action theory as a source for philosophy of medicine.Peter Hucklenbroich - 1981 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 2 (1):55-73.
Self-discovery.Jim I. Unah - 2011 - Cultura 8 (1):143-158.

Analytics

Added to PP
2013-10-31

Downloads
44 (#370,532)

6 months
6 (#582,229)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Principles of biomedical ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by James F. Childress.
The practice of moral judgment.Barbara Herman - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (8):414-436.
The Practice of Moral Judgment.Barbara Herman - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (8):414.
The Foundations of Bioethics.H. T. Engelhardt - 1986 - Ethics 98 (2):402-405.

View all 21 references / Add more references