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BioEthics 1.pdf

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Health Sciences
Health Sciences 2610F/G
Patrick Clipsham

Ethical Theories (part 1) HS 2610G January 18 2013 Dr. Patrick Clipsham History of Medical Ethics • “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury or wrongdoing.” • Primum non nocere •  “First, do no harm.” Modern Principles • Non maleficence – Do no harm • Beneficence – Benefit others • Bioethics is “the study of the ethical dimensions of medicine and the biological science” Ethical Theories • Help us determine: • 1) Which actions are obligatory • 2) Which actions are permitted • 3) Which actions are prohibited Types of Ethical Theories • Applied Ethics • Normative Ethics • Metaethics • Descriptive Ethics Features of (most) Ethical Theories • 1) Objectivity: the right course of action has the best reasons counting in favour of it, and these reasons can, in theory, be recognized by anyone. • 2) Impartiality: reasons for action presume that everyone's needs, rights, and moral worth are roughly equal. Consequentialism • An action is morally right if and only if it produces the best consequences out of all alternative actions. Act-Utilitarianism • An action is morally right if and only if that action creates more happiness than any other alternative. • Happiness = pleasure in the absence of pain Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) • Founder of Modern Utilitarianism John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) • Utilitarianism • The Subjection of Women • On Liberty Problems with Utilitarianism • 1) Real Distinction Between People Problems with Utilitarianism • 2) Integrity: • Jim finds himself in the central square of a small South American town. Tied up against the wall are a row of twenty indigenous people, most terrified, a few defiant, in front of them several armed men in uniform. Rule-Utilitarianism • The morally right action is that which obeys the set of rules that, if followed by everyone, would have the best consequences. Deontology • Deon = duty
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