A qualified bioethic: particularity in James Gustafson and Stanley Hauerwas.

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy

PubMedID: 8151236

McKenny GP. A qualified bioethic: particularity in James Gustafson and Stanley Hauerwas. J Med Philos. 1993;18(6):511-29.
Most theoretical approaches in bioethics begin with a theory that articulates and defends basic principles or rules that are more or less systematically related and that seek to yield more or less precise conclusions with regard to specific acts, cases, or policies. Concerns about the agent and descriptions of the context of action stand on the margins of the theory. This is ironic, given the overwhelming importance and impact the training of health care professionals has upon them and upon the practice of health care as a whole, and given the fact that many advocates of the theories themselves concede that one's beliefs and how one describes a situation and weighs "facts" and values relevant to the case strongly determine one's conclusions. While morality may not lead ineluctably to religion, as Kant believed, bioethics does appear inevitably to involve particularity. I examine the work of James M. Gustafson and Stanley Hauerwas to analyze two views of the role of particularity in bioethics. I then show the relevance of their work for addressing some problems with the practicality and concreteness of current models in bioethics.