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Medical Ethics

A New Moral Philosophy for Medicine:
A Complementary Bio Ethic

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Executive Summary

This booklet offers a proposal for A Complementary Bio Ethic: A New Moral Philosophy for Health Care.  It proposes that we move beyond the four idealistic health care principles of autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, and justice that dominate heath care to four practical dynamic equilibriums.  A Dynamic Equilibrium is the moral oscillation between the parts of a moral complement, two interconnected parts of the whole, that a wise moral agent negotiates in the moment of action.

Four Dynamic Equilibriums are proposed: First, ‘Care’ is in dynamic equilibrium with ‘Detachment.’  This equilibrium exhibits the duty of health care professionals to aid another person, a possibly painful experience, in dynamic equilibrium with one’s duty to care for oneself. Second, ‘Autonomy’ is in dynamic equilibrium with ‘Interdependence.’   This equilibrium oscillates between the duty to offer self-rule in dynamic equilibrium with the duty to facilitate being ruled by others.  Third, ‘Beneficence’ is in dynamic equilibrium with ‘Nonmaleficence.’  This equilibrium defines the duty to ‘Do Good’ in dynamic equilibrium with the duty to ‘Do no Harm.’  Fourth and finally, ‘Justice’ is in dynamic equilibrium with ‘Righteous Indignation.’ A person oscillates between the duty to determine a strong communal support of rightness in dynamic equilibrium with the duty to facilitate a strong individual sense of rightness.  The recognition, identification, and utilization of these equilibriums in a clinical setting becomes a crucial aspect of solving practical health care problems. Visualizing and working with these equilibriums can be seen as an energy source to power improvement of health care in any setting.

 

 

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