What is the appropriate role of reason in secular clinical ethics? An argument for a compatibilist view of public reason.
Medicine, health care, and philosophy
This article describes and rejects three standard views of reason in secular clinical ethics. The first, instrumental reason view, affirms that reason may be used to draw conceptual distinctions, map moral geography, and identify invalid forms of argumentation, but prohibits recommendations because reason cannot justify any content-full moral or metaphysical commitments. The second, public reason view, affirms instrumental reason, and claims ethicists may make recommendations grounded in the moral and metaphysical commitments of bioethical consensus. The third, comprehensive reason view, also affirms instrumental reason, but encourages ethicists to make recommendations grounded in the moral and metaphysical commitments of their private worldviews. A compatibilist view of public reason is then defended, which holds that each standard view captures an important role for reason in different aspects of secular clinical ethics. The article ends by identifying three implications for enduring theoretical debates in clinical ethics.
Brummett A. What is the appropriate role of reason in secular clinical ethics? An argument for a compatibilist view of public reason. Med Health Care Philos. 2021 Jun;24(2):281-290. doi: 10.1007/s11019-021-10004-9. Epub 2021 Jan 21. PMID: 33475924.