The Priesthood of Bioethics and the Return of Casuistry
Wildes, Kevin Wm.
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1993 Feb; 18(1): 33-49.
Several recent attempts to develop models of moral reasoning have attempted to use some form of casuistry as a way to resolve the moral controversies of clinical ethics. One of the best known models of casuistry is that of Jonsen and Toulmin who attempt to transpose a particular model of casuistry, that of Roman Catholic confessional practice, to contemporary moral disputes. This attempt is flawed in that it fails to understand both the history of the model it seeks to transpose and the morally pluralistic context of secular, postmodern society. The practice of casuistry which Jonsen and Toulmin wish to revive is a practice set in the context of a community with a shared set of moral values and structures of moral authority. Without a set of common moral values and rankings, and a moral authority to interpret cases the casuistry of the postmodern age will be pluralistic; that is, there will be many casuistries not just one.
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Wildes, Kevin Wm. (1994-02)James Tallmon has argued that my criticisms of Jonsen and Toulmin are ill founded. Tallmon argues that Jonsen and Toulmin argue for a method of rhetorical reasoning and not for a particular content. He argues that if ...