The unbearable desire for explicitness and rationality in bioethics
in From reason to practice in bioethics
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This chapter considers the claim that the moral life is to be delineated in terms of explicit reason-giving and justification and the related claim that moral development is to be identified with increasing rationality. The authors reject this claim and argue against that a full and coherent account of morality and of the moral life must be one which recognises that, whilst crucially important, the giving of reasons and the provision of explicit justifications, emphasised by John Harris, inevitably takes place against, and indeed only make sense as part of, a rich and intersubjective background of more or less implicit moral discourses and practices which are themselves constituted by and constitute a background of developmental social relationships with a moral dimension. The authors emphasise that this does not imply that it is unreasonable to expect of those in powerful positions that they be explicit about the ethical principles and standards by which their practice is guided or that they should not be held accountable for their actions.

From reason to practice in bioethics

An anthology dedicated to the works of John Harris


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