Professional Ethics, Notes Week 4
Professional Ethics, Notes Week 4 PHI 1120, Professional Ethics
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PHI 1120, Professional Ethics
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Chloe Luyet on Thursday February 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHI 1120, Professional Ethics at Wayne State University taught by Dr. Ryan Fanselow in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 43 views. For similar materials see Professional Ethics in PHIL-Philosophy at Wayne State University.
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Date Created: 02/04/16
Learning Objectives i. Define paternalism and paternalistic lying ii. Understand Collins’s argument that doctors should engage in paternalistic lies Quiz Question Bok argues that doctors shouldn’t lie even if the patient is going to commit suicide I. Learning Objective (i) a. Paternalism i. “To act paternalistically is to guide and even coerce people in order to protect them and serve their interests as a father might his children” (Bok p.84). b. Collins’s thesis i. Telling the truth can be cruel and most of us might not be able to handle it ii. Doctors should not always tell the truth; doctors should develop the art of lying 1. reasons: a. There’s four types of patients that ask for the truth: those who honestly want to know, those who don’t, those who say they want to know but aren’t capable of understanding it, and those who are healthy i. really sick patients don’t ask questions b. Patients DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH 2. Collins’ conveys his point through anecdotes: a. Patient is told he has early arthiritis and none of the standard treatments are working, but upon further observation, he has a much more severe condition called locomotor ataxia. i. doctor lies, prescribes him something, and the patient didn’t ask any questions; the patient lives a longer, “better” life REASONS TO AGREE TO THE LIE REASONS AGAINST THE LIE doctor gave the patient the doctor makes assumptions opportunity to ask about how the patient questions, but the patient would’ve reacted; everyone didn’t want to know the doesn’t react the same truth it’s not the doctor’s job to doing the patient a favor by guess the patient’s reaction; giving a more optimistic he needs to tell the client perspective exactly what they need to it’s the doctor’s job to be know concerned about the he LIED; he didn’t have patient’s health and lying rheumatism. The client had helps them recover/get well completely different doctor knows better about condition and withheld the the reaction of the patient truth (Collins views this as and about the disease even another type of lie) if patient thinks otherwise. we cannot determine if the The doctor has seen patient had a good life. It patterns/trends in the was longer, but a person’s behavior or client quality of life is his/her own (EX/students skipping class opinion and failing is the trend that people make decisions on a professor sees) lies and could make worse new alternatives for decisions that could dictate treatment could develop their lives for the worse and it could be okay b. A patient has an autotoxin kidney disease (serious) and the doctor tells him the truth because the patient (a lawyer) asked for it. Patient doesn’t believe him, goes into denial, claiming that the problem is just arm pain i. Collins continues explaining and the patient died two months later AGREE WITH LIE DISAGREE WITH LIE job of professional is to don’t know if it would’ve better client helped could’ve asked him to not telling the truth could change diet and exercise cause him to ignore exercise (withhold the truth) to and diet change and arm improve arm pain pain could go away he’s not going to change habits for a trivial lie if he wouldn’t do it for a serious disease could be considered malpractice…cause patients to stop believing all doctors c. Collins’s friend comes to him as a patient falling for a “hippie” woman and she leaves him for another woman. Collins says it’s not a momentary lapse of judgment and she can never actually love him i. the patient/friend commits suicide AGREE WITH LIE DISAGREE WITH LIE if they don’t kill themselves, suicide is patient’s concern, there’s a definite possibility not doctor’s of having a better life than if they don’t want to live, it’s none at all their choice can get mental help and get job of doctor is to provide all through it; recovery is info possible lying is treating the cause, protects and serves not the issue patient’s interests best and OTHER OPTION: withhold as a friend judgment and call another preserving life is important professional. Not even his expertise II. Skepticism about Wrongness of Lying (REPEATED INFORMATION=IMPORTANT!) a. Argument IN FAVOR OF lying: i. Lying can benefit some people ii. IN many cases, it doesn’t harm people to lie iii. If something doesn’t cause harm to people and has benefits, we should do it iv. Therefore, we should lie sometimes (when we can benefit people without harming anyone) b. REFUTATION i. lying causes people to make bad decisions ii. ingrains bad habits in everyday life of a person iii. trust b/w people is diminished c. violating autonomy and causing someone to make a bad decision through lies are NOT the same thing i. you can sometimes make a good decision for someone and violate their autonomy 1. EX/ roommate wants to gamble all their financial aid money before tuition arrives, so you hide the financial aid until tuition is posted and lie that it hasn’t yet arrived. Good=to not gamble, but the roommate didn’t make that choice on his/her own, so you stole their autonomy/right to make the decision III. Argument (1) Collins a. Patients don’t want the truth, often (empirical claim – could be confirmed or disconfirmed by observations) b. if someone doesn’t want the truth, you shouldn’t force it on them c. doctors often shouldn’t tell patients the truth i. empirical claims can be true or false; just based on observations, you can find it to be true/false ii. Bok disagrees w/ Collins over Argument #1; Bok thinks that people do want to know the truth d. Collins uses anecdotes to support his arguments e. Bok uses studies/stats to refute arguments of Collins. i. Bock uses representative samples of many people ii. Collins might be biased and he might not have the best memory about good things that happened when he told the truth. Studies report all results 1. Collins argues against Bok: “sure, people will ask for the truth and always say they want it, but they still don’t cause they often go into denial.” 2. Bok says that “denial” is a natural buffer that buys people time to process/accept the truth of the situation, but it’s only temporary (it’s a phase) IV. Argument (2) Collins (premises) a. A doctor should do what’s best for patient’s health b. many cases, telling the patient the truth harms the patient’s health (could be assumed an empirical claim). c. therefore, in many cases, doctors shouldn’t tell the truth V. Bok’s opinion on the suicide case a. tell the truth! WHY? i. Sometimes suicide isn’t the wrong option ii. It is the patient’s right to make a decision on his/her own (autonomy); by lying, you violate that right. b. Bok NEVER explicitly says doctors should never lie, but she does give an exception when a person isn’t mentally capable. As long as the patient is autonomous (capable of making a decision), he/she should be told the whole truth!
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