The Place of the Ideal Observer in Medical Ethics
Churchill, Larry R.
Social Science and Medicine. 1983; 17(13): 897-901.
The image of the ideal observer as medical decision maker is criticized because it ignores the social and personal dimensions of ethics. Self interest or a parochical outlook may be cloaked as objectivity, and a pseudo-scientific rationality substituted for personal moral integrity. The "impartial spectator" of Adam Smith is held to be a more adequate model for the maker of ethical judgments in medicine. Imagining oneself in the other person's situation and involving another moral perspective with one's own leads to a more genuine objectivity. (KIE abstract)