Committees and Consensus: How Many Heads Are Better Than One?
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1991 Aug; 16(4): 375-391.
The first section of this paper asks why the notion of consensus has recently come to the fore in the medical humanities, and suggests that the answer is a function of growing technological and professional complexity. The next two sections examine the concept of consensus analytically, citing some of the recent philosophical literature. The fourth section looks at committee deliberations and their desirable outcomes, and questions the degree to which consensus serves those outcomes. In the fifth and last section it is suggested that if I am to subscribe to a consensual outcome responsibly I must be personally committed to it, and that this requires a form of knowledge I call "fiduciary," in this case knowledge of the competence and trustworthiness of other participants in deliberation whose expertise may have influenced my agreement.
Advisory Committees; Bioethical Issues; Clinical Ethics; Communication; Competence; Consensus; Consent; Decision Analysis; Decision Making; Democracy; Ethicists; Ethics; Ethics Committees; Humanities; Informed Consent; Interprofessional Relations; Knowledge; Literature; Patient Care; Patient Care Team; Philosophy; Physicians; Presumed Consent; Social Interaction;
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