The Management of Instability and Incompleteness: Clinical Ethics and Abstract Expressionism
McCullough, Laurence B.
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 1997 Feb; 22(1): 1-10.
Central concepts and consensus views in clinical ethics are marked by instability. The papers in this number of the Journal take up two such central concepts, quality of life and moral status, and two such consensus views, that germ-line gene transfer should not be undertaken for the purposes of enhancement of human traits and that the ethical obligation of physicians to treat HIV-infected patients rests on consent of the physician. One outcome of these philosophical investigations is that these two concepts and consensus views are less stable than one might have thought. I explore the possibility of generalizing this outcome in a reflection on clinical ethics as the management of instability and incompleteness, including the instability and incompleteness of clinical ethics itself. In the course of this reflection I liken clinical ethics to abstract expressionism in mid-twentieth century Western art.
Bioethical Issues; Bioethics; Cells; Clinical Ethics; Consensus; Consent; Ethics; Gene Therapy; Genetic Enhancement; Germ Cells; Health; Life; Literature; Methods; Moral Obligations; Moral Status; Occupational Exposure; Patients; Personhood; Physicians; Postmodernism; Quality of Life; Refusal to Treat; Risk; Uncertainty;
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