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Persona y Bioética

Print version ISSN 2027-5382
On-line version ISSN 0123-3122

Abstract

DELL'ORO, Roberto. WHY CLINICAL ETHICS? EXPERIENCE, DISCERNMENT AND THE ANAMNESIS OF MEANING AT THE BEDSIDE. pers.bioét. [online]. 2016, vol.20, n.1, pp.86-98. ISSN 2027-5382.  http://dx.doi.org/10.5294/PEBI.2016.20.1.9.

The article asks about the function of clinical ethics. It does so by confronting the assumption that ethics is supposed to help in the solution of concrete problems, relying upon a defined set of principles and rules. The scientific character of such an approach to clinical ethics complements the very understanding of modern medicine as being increasingly scientific and technical; that is, as oriented toward the production of effects. The paper claims that, rather than sharing in the "suspension of meaning" pursued by medicine for the sake of scientific objectivity, the main task of clinical ethics consists of a retrieval, or "anamnesis," of the very questions medicine seems to suspend: the significance of illness and disease, of birth, suffering and death, and of the service to the ethos of generosity that sustains the healing professions. Also, the paper offers a cultural "etiology" of "the suspension of meaning" in ethics, and pleads for a moral reflection that begins with a free and open confrontation with clinical experience. Attending to the moral meaning of concrete situations, the paper argues that formal modes of logical argumentation are only derivative functions of the moral language and, thus, cannot exhaust the broad spectrum of ethical discourse in medicine

Keywords : Clinical ethics; ethical principles; moral experience; post-modernity.

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