Genetics and the interpersonal elaboration of ethics.
ABSTRACT Confidentiality in genetic testing poses important ethical challenges to the current primacy of respect for autonomy and patient choice in health care. It also presents a challenge to approaches to decision-making emphasising the ethical importance of the consequences of health care decisions. In this paper a case is described in which respect for confidentiality calls both for disclosure and non-disclosure, and in which respect for patient autonomy and the demand to avoid causing harm each appear to call both for testing without consent, and testing only with consent. This creates problems not only for clinicians, families and patients, but also for those who propose clinical bioethics as a tool for the resolution of such dilemmas. In this paper I propose some practical ways in which ethical issues in clinical genetics and elsewhere, might be addressed. In particular I call for a closer relationship between ethics and communication in health care decision-making and describe an approach to the ethics consultation that places particular emphasis on the value of interpersonal deliberation in the search for moral understanding. I reach these conclusions through an analysis of the concept of 'moral development' in which I argue that the achievement of moral understanding is a necessarily intersubjective project elaborated by moral persons.
- The Journal of clinical ethics 02/1991; 2(3):145-8; discussion 148-53. · 0.47 Impact Factor
- British Journal of Educational Studies - BRIT J EDUC STUD. 01/1979; 27(3).
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ABSTRACT: The development of human genetics raises a wide range of important ethical questions for us all. The interpersonal dimension of genetic information in particular means that genetics also poses important challenges to the idea of patient-centredness and autonomy in medicine. How ought practical ethical decisions about the new genetics be made given that we appear, moreover, no longer to be able to appeal to unquestioned traditions and widely shared communitarian values? This paper argues that any coherent ethical approach to these questions must be able both to uphold the moral status of the individual and at the same time recognise the communitarian, interpersonal dimensions both of the world in which we live and of personal autonomy itself. The paper then goes on to propose an approach to the resolution of the ethical questions raised by the use of the new genetics in reproductive choice through the development of a coherent and principled process of public reason and justification oriented towards the support and development of personal autonomy.Journal of Medical Ethics 07/2000; 26(3):160-5. · 1.42 Impact Factor