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Phil 164 Lecture 5 (9/22)

by: Elizabeth

Phil 164 Lecture 5 (9/22) Phil 164H

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About this Document

These notes cover an introduction to truth telling and the Higgs reading
Medical Ethics
J. Dixon
Class Notes
truthtelling, medical ethics, philosophy, philosophy 164, Lecture Notes, Lecture, philosophy lecture notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Elizabeth on Tuesday September 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Phil 164H at University of Massachusetts taught by J. Dixon in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views.


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Date Created: 09/27/16
Phil 164 - Medical Ethics I University of Massachusetts, Amherst Professor Dixon Lecture 5 Truth Telling Intro Central Question: Should doctors always tell the truth to patients? Should they withhold information for the welfare of patients? No Yes ● Telling young children ● Better to be upfront ● Historically doctors don’t have general ● Recently - 1980 - law passed saying obligation to tell the truth doctors are obligated to tell truth and ● Dr.’s have special knowledge expose those who don’t ● Paternalism favored historically ● Patient autonomy - self governance, ○ Protect/sheild patient right to make decisions about life ● Historically Dr./patient relationship = ● Dr. and patient are equal parent/child relationship ● Reason for shift from no to yes - confidentiality and patient autonomy ● Paternalism vs. Autonomy ○ Paternalism- parent/child relationship ○ Autonomy - equal ● Paternalistic - how it’s morally justified ○ Consequentialism - best consequences = what doctor knows ○ “Do no harm” ○ Beneficence - goodness towards someone ○ Nonmaleficence - same as beneficence ● Autonomy - how it’s morally justified ○ Kantian - golden rule - doctors would want to know the truth so they should tell the truth ○ Right to know truth; doctors have duty to tell truth → deontological ● Kantian - argues for telling the truth ○ Universal Law formulation - lying - can’t consistently conceive and will it for everyone to lie ● Woman with cancer example ○ Justified by consequences to lie to her ○ Natural Law Theory - violating one of the four basic goods (human knowledge) ● Right-Based moral theory - argues for telling truth ● Social Contract - argues for telling truth Higgs​ - yes tell truth, except specific, rare cases that need strong justification Argument 1) Medical Ethics is a part of General Morality a) General morality prohibits lying b) No one is exempt from that So… not acceptable for doctors to lie, except in extreme cases Arguments Against Higgs 1) Too difficult to explain truth to patients a) Higgs’ response - Dr’s can convey enough 2) Patients don’t like bad news a) Higgs’ response - in other professions, you don’t lie (ex. accountant doesn’t lie about bankruptcy) 3) Truth does harm a) Higgs’ response i) Short term effects of lying are positive, but long term effects are negative ii) Short term effect of truth may be negative, but long term effects are positive


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