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PHI 2396 - notes -.docx

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PHI2396Lecture1Jan1012What is bioethicsType of applied ethicsEthical theories principles and rules to problems of therapeutic practice health care delivery and medical and biological researchApplies something theoretical to practicalthstBeginning of bioethics date back to 5 century BC with the Hippocratic Oath1 code of ethics for health care professionalsBioethicslaw close relationship What are the general theories and principles used in this course On outlineWhy are we concerned with ethics at allWhat is it about ethics that makes it important for us to know about itSome people believe that what is right and wrong good and bad depends on how we feel about itThese people share a noncognitivist metaethical positionalso known as ethical noncognitivistEthical noncognitivist argues that no matter how much logicreasoning based on knowledge you useyou never settle a disagreement on what is rightin other wordswe think we are right because it feels rightOther people what is right or wrong depends on a particular viewEthical RelativismEthical Relativismposition that what is right or wrongbased on reasoningnot just feelingsno objective and universal right or wrongeveryone has their own values and understanding of what is rightwrongYet others believe that rightwrong goodbad are objective in naturesocalled Ethical ObjectivismEthical Objectivismright and wrong are objective phenomenarecognized by everyoneso when we make ethical claims we make claims about how the world really isbelieves peoples actions and disposition have moral qualities and are not just a matter of a point of view or a feelingthis is what well accept as true in this courseTeleologicalconsequentialist TheoriesBest known theoryteleological theory is UtilitarianismUtilitarianism whose most famous proponent is John Stuart Mill takes for its fundamental principlePrinciple of UtilityPrinciple of UtilityThe greatest good and the least harm for the greatest number of peopleHoweverdoes not tell us what the nature of this good or harm isBecause of thatthere are different types of utilitarianisms depending of the definition of goodbadhow to identify goodbad and how we apply the principle utilityAct Utilitarianism applies that we should apply the principle on a casetocase basis without reference to universal rules Ex Health care professionals would not follow the general rules of ethical decision makinginstead they would calculate the utility of each of each situation separately on its ownRule Utilitarianism propose that utility cannot be calculated for individual acts but only general rules of conductthus we deal with an actual moral dilemmathe decision making process should depend upon identifying the general rule to be applied in the given situationstRead pg 67 from 1 article Ethical TheoryRule utilitarian approachmoved by hedonistic considerationtry to balance the problems Factors social resources unwanted children cost of taking care of failed abortion attempts etcIdeal utilitarianismideal values compassion and respect for lifewould balance these values against strong emphasis society places on autonomy and selfdeterminationtry to find a solutionmight decide to perform abortions under specific conditions like rape or incest medical indications etcMixed utilitarianismtry to balance ideal and hedonistic considerations Eudaemonistic utilitarianismlook for statistical data about psychological sequelae of abortionscompare with the effect on the happiness of mother child and other affected partied when abortions are deniedthen compare data about societys mood about slowingdeclining abortionstry to calculate the greatest amount of overall goodin the current social climateallow abortionsAct utilitarianism perspectiveconsiderations that deal with the nature of the goodhowever the board would not try to decide what type of policy it should adoptinstead set up committee to look at each case separately without reference to hard and fast guidelinesunlikely to operate in this fashion for very long the running of health care institution requires policies something that is ruled out by the very nature of act utilitarianismDeontological derivedduties theories are not concerned with outcomes but with rights and duties Two major types of deontological approach Monisticthere is only one basic principle from which all judgments and rules of right and wrong must ultimately be derivedPluralisticseveral basic principlesImmanuel Kants ethical theory is the best known deontological monistic approachalso called Categorical ImperativeAccording to Kant human beings occupy a special place in creation and morality can be summed up in one ultimate commandment of reason or imperative from which all duties and obligations derive He defined an imperative as any proposition that declares a certain action or inaction to be necessaryHypothetical imperatives compel actions in given circumstancesIf I wish to quench my thirst I must drink somethingIf I wish to acquire knowledge I must learnst1 Definition of Categorical ImperativeYou should act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become universal lawAct only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same will that it should become a universal lawCan anyone follow without any contradictionsproblemsEmphasis on peoples agreementIs it possible to get all the people to agree on any ethical principleEmphasis on rationalityWhen people act morally they arent always acting rationally and it isnt clear that the only rational considerations should be taken into account when considering moral questions A utilitarian says that murder is wrong because it does not maximize good for the greatest number of people but this is irrelevant to people who are concerned only with maximizing the positive outcome for themselves Consequently Kant argued hypothetical moral systems cannot persuade moral action or be regarded as bases for moral judgments against others because the imperatives on which they are based rely too heavily on subjective considerations He presented a deontological moral system based on the demands of the categorical imperative as an alternativePerfect duty In general perfect duties are those that are blameworthy if not met as they are a basic required duty for a human beingImperfect duty Imperfect duties are circumstantial meaning simply that you could not reasonably exist in a constant state of performing that duty This is what truly differentiates between perfect and imperfect duties because imperfect duties are those duties that are never truly completed A particular example provided by Kant is the imperfect duty to cultivate ones own talentsnd2 Definition of Categorical Imperativecalled Practical ImperativeYou should act so that you treat humanity always as an end and never as a means onlyTake their own interests firstSome doctors treat patients beneficial to the hospital rather than the individualwe all want to be treated as an end not meansRead example on pg 8
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