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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

  1. 1. Descriptive Ethics, Normative Ethics, Metaethics (Biomedical Ethics) Charles Lohman
  2. 2. Descriptive Ethics Normative Ethics <ul><li>DESCRIPTIVE ETHICS is concerned with how people behave. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What do people think is right is the question of DESCRIPTIVE ETHICS </li></ul></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In other words, it is normative in the sense that it identifies the norms and/or standards of right and wrong actions and behaviors. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How people ought to act is the question of NORMATIVE ETHICS </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Two Criteria of Normative Ethical Theories <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>TOGETHER these two criteria are safeguards against arbitrariness and personal or group bias in justifying behavior. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Metaethics <ul><li>METAETHICS deals with the basic question of the point of ethics. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s basically concerned with whether there are ethical FACTS independent of our normative judgments and conventions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It focuses on the meaning of terms like “right,” “wrong,” “good,” “bad,” and on the form of arguments used to justify actions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What does right mean is the question of Metaethics. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Summed Up <ul><li>DESCRIPTIVE ETHICS focuses on how people behave. </li></ul><ul><li>NORMATIVE ETHICS focuses on CONTENT of morality. </li></ul><ul><li>METAETHICS focuses on the NATURE of morality. </li></ul>

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