Methods in Medical Ethics

By Jeremy Sugarman; Daniel P. Sulmasy | Go to book overview

5
Professional Codes

Edmund D. Pellegrino

Until very recently, both in Eastern and Western medicine, codes of ethical conduct provided the only source of judgment of good and bad, right and wrong, professional conduct. They were, therefore, the only “method” of ethical argumentation. However, from the beginning of the contemporary era of medical ethics, ethical codes have been challenged by a wide variety of alternate modes of argumentation, as the other chapters in this book attest. Nonetheless, in most of the world, among professionals and laypersons, codes continue to set standards for ethical conduct, to define new ethical issues, and to support one position or another in ethical discourse.

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the use of codes in medical ethics argumentation, to define the sources of their authority, and to delineate their use and abuse in ethical discourse. This chapter will attempt to show that, properly used, professional ethical codes still have an important place in the field, provided their limitations are taken into account.

The chapter consists of five sections: (1) an overview of the ubiquity and historical presence of ethical codes in medicine; (2) the technique or “method” underlying the use of codes in argumentation; (3) a critique of the moral authority of codes, proposed sources of their moral authority, and the use and abuse of codes in ethical argumentation; and (4) advice about training in the use of codes, as well as suggested resources for further study.


THE PERSISTENCE AND UBIQUITY OF CODES

The subject of this chapter is professional codes. It is important at the outset, therefore, to distinguish codes from oaths with which they are frequently confused. Sulmasy has made this distinction quite explicit (Sulmasy 1999). He understands an oath to be a formal, solemn, publicly proclaimed commitment to conduct oneself in certain morally specified ways. Codes, on the other hand, are simply enumerations, codifications, or collations of a set of moral precepts. One may or may not swear fidelity to a code. When one does swear solemnly to abide by a specific codification of moral precepts, then code and oath coincide but do not lose their separate identities. When I speak of codes in this chapter, I refer to the codification and not necessarily the oath to abide by that codification.

-70-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Methods in Medical Ethics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Contributors xiii
  • Part I - Overview 1
  • 1: The Many Methods of Medical Ethics (Or, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird) 3
  • 2: A Decade of Empirical Research in Medical Ethics 19
  • Part II - Methods 29
  • 3: Philosophy 31
  • 4: Religion and Theology 47
  • 5: Professional Codes 70
  • 6: Legal Methods 88
  • 7: Casuistry 104
  • 8: History 126
  • 9: Qualitative Methods 146
  • 10: Ethnographic Methods 169
  • 11: Quantitative Surveys 1 192
  • 12: Experimental Methods 207
  • 13: Economics and Decision Science 227
  • Part III - Relationships and Applications 245
  • 14: Research in Medical Ethics: Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia 247
  • 15: Research in Medical Ethics: Genetic Diagnosis 1 267
  • 16: Reading the Medical Ethics Literature: a Discourse on Method 286
  • Index 298
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 314

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.