A Moral Framework for Multicultural Education in Healthcare
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 2003; 24(4): 301-328
The goal of this paper is two-fold. First, I begin by reviewing several of the major points of emphasis among health educators as they begin to incorporate multicultural issues into healthcare education. I then consider the role of moral relativism, which is currently being endorsed by some health educators, as the foundation for resolving cross-cultural conflicts in healthcare. I argue that moral relativism is ultimately inconsistent with the stated goals in multicultural curricular proposals and fails to provide an effective framework for considering moral conflicts in cross-cultural settings. Instead, I propose that those methods seeking to establish a common morality, built upon mutually shared values, offer the most promising means of resolving cross-cultural conflicts. This leads to my second goal, to compare recent work in moral pragmatism with what is now widely known in bioethics as moral "principlism." I argue that while proponents of principlism and pragmatism each seek to establish a common foundation for moral deliberation, they fail to appreciate significant similarities between their respective approaches. Instead of offering two completely unique and independent methods of moral deliberation, I suggest that principlism and pragmatism embrace common themes that point us in a positive direction, providing an effective framework useful for considering cross-cultural conflicts in healthcare.
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