Refining deliberation in bioethics

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 12 (4):393-397 (2009)
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Abstract

The multidisciplinary provenance of bioethics leads to a variety of discursive styles and ways of reasoning, making the discipline vulnerable to criticism and unwieldy to the setting of solid theoretical foundations. Applied ethics belongs to a group of disciplines that resort to deliberation rather than formal argumentation, therefore employing both factual and value propositions, as well as emotions, intuitions and other non logical elements. Deliberation is thus enriched to the point where ethical discourse becomes substantial rather than purely analytical. Caution must be exercised to avoid this formal permissiveness from accepting empty and incorrigible statements that are but flatus voci since they can neither be supported nor falsified. It is therefore suggested that deliberation in bioethics should comply with three sets of conditions: (1) Be understandable, truthful, honest and pertinent, as suggested by communicative ethics; (2) Allow for second order, thick judgements as suggested by pragmatism; (3) Abide by additional criteria as here proposed: Doxastic propositions should be bolstered by a cognitive element; statements should be specific and proportional to the issue at hand, and they should be arguable and coherent

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Miguel Kottow
Universidad de Chile

Citations of this work

Ethical quandaries posing as conflicts of interest.M. Kottow - 2010 - Journal of Medical Ethics 36 (6):328-332.

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References found in this work

Moral reasons.Jonathan Dancy - 1993 - Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell.
Why Deliberative Democracy?Amy Gutmann & Dennis F. Thompson - 2004 - Princeton University Press.
The collapse of the fact/value dichotomy and other essays.Hilary Putnam - 2002 - Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
The Uses of Argument.Stephen E. Toulmin - 1958 - Philosophy 34 (130):244-245.
Ethics without ontology.Hilary Putnam - 2004 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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