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PHI 204 - Ethical Issues in Health Care: Descriptive Ethics, Normative Ethics, Metaethics
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PHI 204 - Ethical Issues in Health Care: Descriptive Ethics, Normative Ethics, Metaethics

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  • 1. Descriptive Ethics, Normative Ethics, Metaethics (Biomedical Ethics) Charles Lohman
  • 2. Descriptive Ethics Normative Ethics
    • DESCRIPTIVE ETHICS is concerned with how people behave.
      • What do people think is right is the question of DESCRIPTIVE ETHICS
    • NORMATIVE ETHICS is concerned with how people ought to act, what sort of person one ought to be or what sorts of policies ought to be implemented.
      • In other words, it is normative in the sense that it identifies the norms and/or standards of right and wrong actions and behaviors.
      • How people ought to act is the question of NORMATIVE ETHICS
  • 3. Two Criteria of Normative Ethical Theories
    • 1.) OBJECTIVITY is where the right course of action is based on the best reasons for doing it, and where these reasons can be recognized universally.
    • 2.) IMPARTIALITY is where reasons for action assume that each person’s needs and interests are equally important and that the claims of all people are given equal weight.
    • TOGETHER these two criteria are safeguards against arbitrariness and personal or group bias in justifying behavior.
  • 4. Metaethics
    • METAETHICS deals with the basic question of the point of ethics.
      • It’s basically concerned with whether there are ethical FACTS independent of our normative judgments and conventions.
      • It focuses on the meaning of terms like “right,” “wrong,” “good,” “bad,” and on the form of arguments used to justify actions.
      • What does right mean is the question of Metaethics.
  • 5. Summed Up
    • DESCRIPTIVE ETHICS focuses on how people behave.
    • NORMATIVE ETHICS focuses on CONTENT of morality.
    • METAETHICS focuses on the NATURE of morality.