The independence of medical ethics.


Culture and Society, Malmö University, Nordenskiöldsgatan 1, 205 06, Malmö, Sweden. [Email]


This paper discusses the relation between medical ethics and general moral theory, the argument being that medical ethics is best seen as independent from general moral theory. According to this independence thesis, here explicated in terms of what is called a disunitarian stance, the very idea of applied ethics, which is often seen as underlying medical ethics (as well as many other more specific fields of ethics), is misguided. We should instead think of medical ethics as a domain-specific ethical inquiry among other domain-specific ethical inquiries. On this alternative kind of picture, such ethical inquiries should start with looking at the particularities of the domain under consideration and then proceed from there. Some possible consequences of this idea for medical ethics are then identified and discussed.


Applied ethics,Medical ethics,Methodology,Moral theory,