Lecture 1 8-18-09 - PHL 116 Bioethics General Introduction...

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PHL 116 Bioethics General Introduction to Ethics I. Medical Ethics as a Sub-field of Ethics Ethics is the philosophical study of morality. It is one of the main branches of philosophy and is primarily concerned with the study of goodness and right action. The term “morality” descriptively refers to a code of conduct put forward by a society, a specific group (e.g., a religion), or which is accepted by an individual for his/her own behavior. However, the term is also used in a “normative sense”, to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons, and that all rational persons would believe ought to be followed. Traditionally, ethics is divided into three branches: (1) normative , (2) descriptive , and (3) applied . 1. Descriptive ethics – the branch of ethics concerned with identifying what kinds of moral beliefs people have, and how these beliefs affect human ethical behavior. For example, we might want to know the moral beliefs or values of a particular doctor, or a particular organization such as the American Medical Association (AMA) or of patients generally. We can obtain such information by: 1.) Looking at how individual doctors behave
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This note was uploaded on 06/15/2011 for the course PHL 116 taught by Professor Sullivan during the Fall '09 term at University of Alabama at Birmingham.

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Lecture 1 8-18-09 - PHL 116 Bioethics General Introduction...

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