Moral consensus in public ethics: Patient autonomy and family decisionmaking in the work of one state bioethics commission

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 21 (2):149-168 (1996)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Focusing on the work of one bioethics commission, the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, this article explores the role played by moral consensus in public ethics. Task Force members, who were appointed to represent diverse interests in New York State, identified a culturally strong value of individual autonomy as the ethical basis for their work on life-sustaining treatment. This moral consensus permitted the members to unite across their differences and develop public policy recommendations that substantially reformed a highly troubling New York law. However, the principle of autonomy insufficiently guides decisions by caring family members for incompetent adults in cases where little is known of patient preference. A different, more innovative moral vision is required – one that grants a more robust moral authority to the family. While government efforts that rely on moral consensus developed in a broadbased and well-reasoned manner can serve us well, in some cases the consensus will provide inadequate moral guidance. Government bioethical efforts must guard against the limits of moral vision in light of their disproportionate societal power. Keywords: autonomy, consensus, family decisionmaking, government bioethics, incompetent patients, life-sustaining treatment, surrogate decisionmaking CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,219

External links

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

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-08-24

Downloads
16 (#860,839)

6 months
3 (#928,914)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references