HEC Forum 28 (1):1-10 (2016)

In this paper, I argue that distinctions between traditional and contemporary accounts of conscience protections, such as the account offered by Aulisio and Arora, fail. These accounts fail because they require an impoverished conception of our moral lives. This failure is due to unnoticed assumptions about the distinction between the traditional and contemporary articulations of conscience protection. My argument proceeds as follows: First, I highlight crucial assumptions in Aulisio and Arora’s argument. Next, I argue that respecting maximal play in values, though a fine goal in our liberal democratic society, raises a key issue in exactly the situations that matter in these cases. Finally, I argue that too much weight is given to a too narrow conception of values. There are differences between appeals to conscience that are appropriately categorized as traditional or contemporary, and a way to make sense of conscience in the contemporary medical landscape is needed. However, the normative implications drawn by Aulisio and Arora do not follow from this distinction without much further argument. I conclude that their paper is a helpful illustration the complexity of this issue and of a common view about conscience, but insofar as their view fails to account for the richness of our moral life, they fail to resolve the issue at hand.
Keywords Conscience  Autonomy  Liberty  Ethics  Moral life  Values
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DOI 10.1007/s10730-015-9274-8
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A Theory of Justice: Revised Edition.John Rawls - 1999 - Harvard University Press.

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