Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (1):1-2 (2018)

Authors
Jonathan Pugh
Oxford University
Abstract
In medical ethics, we are often concerned with questions that pertain predominantly to the treatment of a particular individual. However, in a number of cases it is crucial to broaden the scope of our moral inquiry beyond consideration of the individual alone, since the interests of the individual can come into conflict with the interests of the wider community. How should we resolve such conflicts between the interests of the individual and the collective? Most readers of this journal will likely be familiar with the moral theory ‘classical utilitarianism’, which enjoins us to bring about the greatest happiness for the greatest number. This theory offers straightforward guidance in such conflicts, since it will typically be the case that the interests of the many will outweigh the interests of the individual in the utilitarian’s moral calculus. However, the simplicity of this approach is typically understood to be an inadequacy of the theory rather than an appropriate solution to these conflicts; contrary to the implications of classic utilitarianism, we would not believe it permissible to kill one innocent person in order to harvest life-saving organs for five others. Of course, adherents of utilitarianism have responded to this sort of problem by refining the theory in various ways. However, one may invoke different kinds of moral apparatus in order to navigate conflicts between the individual and the collective. In this issue, a number of papers engage with moral concepts that are central to different approaches to navigating these conflicts in practical debates. While it may clearly be in the interests of the collective to restrict the transmission of a dangerous infectious pathogen, methods of achieving this aim can be contrary to the interests of the particular individuals targeted by the intervention. Consider quarantine measures; in quarantine, individuals who are merely suspected of carrying …
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1136/medethics-2017-104679
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,959
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Autonomy, Rationality, and Contemporary Bioethics.Jonathan Pugh - 2020 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Is Mozi a Utilitarian Philosopher?Changchi Hao - 2006 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 1 (3):382-400.
Is There a Moral Right to Vote?Ludvig Beckman - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (4):885-897.
The Moral Primacy of the Human Being.C. Parker - 2010 - Journal of Medical Ethics 36 (9):563-566.
Genetic Dissent and Individual Compromise.David Haig - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (2):233-239.
Citizens as Contractualist Stakeholders.David Silver - 2012 - Journal of Business Ethics 109 (1):3-13.
Enhancement and Equality.Greg Bognar - 2012 - Ethical Perspectives 19 (1):11-32.
Are Cultural Group Rights Against Individual Rights?Erol Kuyurtar - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 3:51-59.
Anti-Liberal Democracy.Miguel Angel Martinez-Saenz - 2001 - Dissertation, University of South Florida
Humanity, Holism, and Environmental Ethics.Lawrence E. Johnson - 1983 - Environmental Ethics 5 (4):345-354.
Are Cultural Group Rights Against Individual Rights?Erol Kuyurtar - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 3:51-59.
Collective Responsibility and Professional Roles.Paul B. Thompson - 1986 - Journal of Business Ethics 5 (2):151 - 154.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-12-19

Total views
25 ( #455,295 of 2,504,601 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,529 of 2,504,601 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes