Bioethics Education and Nonideal Theory

In Elizabeth Victor & Laura K. Guidry-Grimes (eds.), Applying Nonideal Theory to Bioethics: Living and Dying in a Nonideal World. New York: Springer. pp. 119-142 (2021)
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Bioethics has increasingly become a standard part of medical school education and the training of healthcare professionals more generally. This is a promising development, as it has the potential to help future practitioners become more attentive to moral concerns and, perhaps, better moral reasoners. At the same time, there is growing recognition within bioethics that nonideal theory can play an important role in formulating normative recommendations. In this chapter we discuss what this shift toward nonideal theory means for ethical curricula within healthcare education. In particular, we contend that more attention to the particularities of historical and social context needs to be incorporated into bioethics training. To make this argument, we focus on two examples: teaching units on race and medicine and those that focus on stigma and coercion in mental health. For both, we show how a pedagogical approach in which educators focus on social injustice could influence how practitioners engage in ethics in the clinic. This chapter, then, demonstrates what a commitment to nonideal theory can mean practically when it comes to bioethics education.



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Nabina Liebow
American University
Kelso Cratsley
American University

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References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Principles of biomedical ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by James F. Childress.
A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.

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