Ethical theories as multiple models

Journal of Medical Ethics 49 (6):444-446 (2023)
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Hardman and Hutchinson claim that ethics is ‘grounded in particular, everyday concerns’. According to them, an implication of this is that ethics courses for (future) clinicians should de-emphasise teaching the theories and principles of philosophical ethics and focus instead on pedagogical activities more closely related to everyday concerns, for example, exposure to real patient accounts. I respond that, even if ethics is an ‘everyday’ phenomenon, learning philosophical ethics may be of significant practical benefit to clinicians. I argue that the theories of philosophical ethics can reasonably be interpreted as partial, simplified descriptions—or models—of moral phenomena, and that they can be effectively deployed in tandem by clinicians as complementary decision-making tools for help in navigating ethically complex situations in the clinic.



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Bringing context into ethical discussion: what, when and who?Lucy Frith - 2023 - Journal of Medical Ethics 49 (6):375-376.

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References found in this work

Model Pluralism.Walter Veit - 2019 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (2):91-114.
Three Kinds of Idealization.Michael Weisberg - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (12):639-659.
Where the ethical action is.Doug Hardman & Phil Hutchinson - 2022 - Journal of Medical Ethics 49 (1):45–48.
Modelling in Normative Ethics.Joe Roussos - 2022 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (5):1-25.
When one model is not enough: Combining epistemic tools in systems biology.Sara Green - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (2):170-180.

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