Processes in the Formulation and Legitimisation of Professional Ethics in a Changing World
Social Science and Medicine. 1983; 17(16): 1191-1197.
A distinction is drawn between general moral problems, i.e., those which are solvable by universal moral considerations, and role-specific problems, i.e., those which are solvable by considerations unique to a particular profession. It is widely accepted that the primary role-specific norm of medicine is promotion of the health of the patient. Sometimes conflicts between role-specific norms and general moral norms arise. For example, in pursuit of the promotion of health, doctors may violate the patient's autonomy. The author argues that in such cases role-specific norms should be considered subordinate to general moral norms. (KIE abstract)
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