Ethics

Ethics

Ethics is a philosophic system concerned

More than one ethical answer to many problems as different individuals will make different assumptions about the reality of the situation and there are different ethical frameworks used to analyses a particular problem.

Common ethical frameworks:
• rule- or duty-based ethics
• consequential- or utilitarian-based ethics
• principle based ethics

Rule- or duty-based ethics:
• looks for rules for that we have a duty to follow
• the rules provide a basis for deciding was is good and right
• rules change over time
• implies that what is legal is also what is moral and legislators create and define morality and ethical behaviour

Consequential- or utilitarian-based ethics:
• focuses on the results or consequences of action rather then the actions themselves
• consideration is given to the value on achieving a particular outcome and the probability of achieving that outcome
• an ethical decision is that decision that results in providing the maximum amount of ‘goodness’ to the most people

Principle based ethics:
• based on the principle that all of society will never agree on the rules or values  need some basic ideas that can be supported by all
• this has become the most dominant system within health care
• 4 principles assumed to guide moral actions – autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, justice

Autonomy:
• the right of the individual to exercise the capacity of rational choice

Beneficence:
• do only good

Nonmaleficence:
• do not harm

Justice:
• equals should be treated equally

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