Yet the reasons for such discouragement are clear. Circumcision of boys may be performed only by physicians when there are medical benefits attributed.
Some persistent myths about the teaching of ethics create a sense of hopelessness about the potential for influencing the ethical development of professionals. David Ozar and I have heard these myths countless times when discussing particular ethical problems of the profession, or when advising schools on the development of a program for ethics education.
One such myth maintains the widely held belief that ethics and character are "hard-wired" sometime before puberty, and, you can't teach someone to be ethical after that. A second notion argues that even if you could teach ethics, no guarantee exists that people will practice ethically.
A third idea assumes that people will only change through oppressive coercion or conversion. Ethicists and educators who argue that ethics can be taught often rely on persuasive discourse to convince skeptics of the worth of the pedagogical enterprise.
I intend to present such evidence, findings drawn from the general literature on the psychology of morality, and from a dozen or more studies on the ethical development of dental students.
These studies have been conducted over the past ten years by myself and my colleagues, Dr. Rest and others, at the Center for the Study of Ethical Development. In presenting this evidence, I hope to undermine your confidence in the validity of some of these persistent myths and to show you why Dr.
Ozar and I believe in the worth of the American College's initiative to increase awareness of ethical issues in the profession. I begin by describing the reasons, drawn from psychological research3, which explain why people don't always do what others think they should. A review of these reasons demonstrates that effective ethical behavior results from a number of integrated abilities that characterize persons judged to be "of good moral character.
This review reveals why a program in professional ethics education needs to expand beyond the content of biomedical ethics. Even though this content is the very foundation for moral argument, the ability to construct a well-reasoned argument alone will not result in effective ethical behavior.
In fact, the development of the ability to reason, in isolation from related abilities and implementation skills, often leads to the kind of cynicism we sometimes see in young professionals—professionals who haven't yet worked out ways of integrating the real with the ideal.
A program in professional ethics education needs to expand beyond the content of biomedical ethics. Psychological research3 indicates that individuals sometimes fail to do what others think they ought to do for four distinct reasons.
First, an individual may be blind to the moral issues that present themselves. Individuals entering a new field of study, such as a profession, need to learn to integrate the technical information from the discipline with what they have come to know and understand about a professional's role and duty, as well as what they understand about the way their patient or client might behave.
If a professional is insensitive to the needs of others, or if a situation is too ambiguous, the professional may fail to act morally.
Second, a person may be deficient in formulating a morally defensible course of action. History is replete with shocking instances of crooked thinking: Nazi officers' defense of the killing of millions of Jews on the basis of their duty to obey authority; Nazi physicians' justification of the use of concentration camp victims for lethal experiments; the US Public Health Services' continuation of the syphilis study after penicillin's invention; the A.
Robins company's failure to inform the public of problems with the Dalkon Shield; etc Since professionals are often confronted with new and emerging dilemmas which have not been ajudicated, the ability to formulate a defensible course of action is a necessity.
Case law indicates that professionals can be held accountable for the decisions they make. As a result, professionals are expected to be able to distinguish among competing values, to prioritize conflicting rights and to develop a morally defensible course of action.
Professionals are expected to be able to distinguish among competing values, to prioritize conflicting rights and to develop a morally defensible course of action.
But, knowing what one ought to do for moral reasons is, of course, no guarantee that one will do it. Third, an individual may fail to give priority to moral concerns.
The dental profession worries about an oversupply of dentists and a decreasing incidence of disease, conditions which stress the professional's commitment to the interests of patients. The potential for this problem to have far reaching consequences for the profession and the public becomes even more apparent when we consider human nature.
Each of us is capable of developing elaborate and internally persuasive rationalizations for prioritizing non-moral values over moral ones. Rest cites John Dean's confession in Blind Ambition, as an example of someone who has admitted that in his actions as special counsel to President Nixon, questions of morality and justice were preempted by more pressing concerns—Dean's desire to succeed in the Nixon administration.
Michael Josephson4 notes that rationalizations for prioritizing nonmoral values over moral values seem to be related to three kinds of selfishness: Because self-esteem and self-respect depend on a positive assessment of one's own character, most of us believe we are ethical, even when an independent assessment of personal actions might prove otherwise.
Because self-esteem and self-respect depend on a positive assessment of one's own character, most of us believe we are ethical.American legal precedent confirms child’s right to reject circumcision The case of Boldt v. Boldt. A long-running legal saga in the United States was finally resolved in late , when courts in the state of Oregon ruled that a parent could not compel a child over which he .
A. AGS Ethics Committee, Physician-Assisted Suicide and Voluntary Active Euthanasia. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, May , 43(5) Autonomy versus Beneficence: An Ethical Dilemma The conflict between autonomy and beneficence always remain a challenge for health care practitioners to have intervention best in the interest of patient’s wellbeing and respect of their preferences.
1. The Concepts of Beneficence and Benevolence. The term beneficence connotes acts of mercy, kindness, and charity. It is suggestive of altruism, love, humanity, and promoting the good of others.
In ordinary language, the notion is broad, but it is understood even more broadly in ethical theory to include effectively all forms of action intended to benefit or promote the good of other persons.
Content created by Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) Content last reviewed on February 16, Compare the opposing principles of autonomy vs beneficence and nonmaleficence in the context of a patient with dementia. Evaluate conditions under which medical decision making considers a patient's current quality of life over past stated wishes.