Feminist Directions in Medical Ethics

Hypatia 4 (2):73-86 (1989)
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I explore some new directions—suggested by feminism—for medical ethics and for philosophical ethics generally. Moral philosophers need to confront two issues. The first is deciding which moral issues merit attention. Questions which incorporate the perspectives of women need to be posed—e. g., about the unequal treatment of women in health care, about the roles of physician and nurse, and about relationship issues other than power struggles. “Crisis issues” currently dominate medical ethics, to the neglect of what I call “housekeeping issues.” The second issue is how philosophical moral debates are conducted, especially how ulterior motives influence our beliefs and arguments. Both what we select—and neglect—to study as well as the “games” we play may be sending a message as loud as the words we do speak on ethics.



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