Respect for Persons, Respect for Integrity
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy: A European Journal 2005; 8(2): 231-242
Even though respect for integrity is hailed in several authoritative legal and ethical documents, and is typically presented as a complement to respect for autonomy, it is largely neglected in many leading works in ethics. Is such neglect warranted, or does it express a prejudice? This article argues that the latter is the case, and that this is due to misplaced conceptual concerns. It offers some proposals as regards the conceptualization of integrity in social ethics in general and in biomedical ethics in particular. Five main directions of interpretation of "integrity" are discerned and shown to be relevant for different areas of biomedical ethics. The defense of respect for integrity is served by a softening of principlism and by greater attention to context among the initial critics of this principle.
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