Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wondering about "Ethical Analysis"

Rosemary Flanigan
February 27, 2010

We’re beginning preparation for one of our twice-yearly ethics committee workshops, and we always ask ourselves, “What do our members NEED?” Even if we advertise them for new members or experienced members, we usually get a mixture.

My colleague Terry Rosell called our attention to the fact that in many ethics committees only a small group does actual case consults. Whether or not this is a good practice, I still think it advisable to model ethical analysis using a mock case with all levels of ethics committees.


Because we can get in bad habits and “ethical” analysis becomes “what the doctors say to do.”

If we are not self-reflective in the analysis, then we need to model forced self-reflection by asking what presuppositions or assumptions are at play in the last remark, and what are the implications of the suggestion just made for ”solving the problem.”

We ought to be aware whether we are thinking consequentially or deontologically—and to tell one another that we know where we are coming from and where we are going in our arguments. (It takes pressure off the listener.) There are weaknesses built in to each ethical theory and our arguments ought to reflect our awareness of that fact.
If we’re not doing that in our meetings, it doesn’t surprise me that people wonder what an “ethical analysis” really is.

Anybody agree???? Disagree????



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