From Clinic to Classroom: Medical Ethics and Moral Education

By Howard B. Radest | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5

Making Moral Sense

STORIES AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH

To make moral sense in the clinical situation, we rely on traditional moral resources. The clinical situation, even under its new and puzzling conditions, still needs to be reinterpreted from within moral history. But this doesn’t quite do the job. The search for usable moral ideas continues.

Thinking with cases is the clue, but it is not clear exactly how that thinking takes place. The case is not just another name for the story. As we have seen, the story is layered by time and character, by teller and told-to, by style and mood. It is the way in which experience is opened up to self and to others. Thus, I tell myself a story as a prelude to retelling it. This begins when I find myself a person-in-need. The story then stands between my being a person and my becoming a patient. It conveys my presence and invites retellings in order to arrive at shared meanings. I do not simply dwell in some original story. To be sure, the event remains a permanent subtext. The original story is its reminder and, at the same time, becomes the center of other stories. So whatever else happens, it is imperative that the story not be trivialized, forgotten, or displaced. It is the invitation for someone to make story into case.

Differently structured, the case is both narrative and agenda. It is shaped by ideas and values, and by an intended outcome. These connect the case to other cases, to practices, and to background sciences like biology and chemistry. Thus the case recasts the story, moving it from the particular to the generalizable. The case is addressed not just to any

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From Clinic to Classroom: Medical Ethics and Moral Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 - Doing and Undoing Ethics 1
  • Chapter 2 - Science and Story 25
  • Chapter 3 - Whose Story Is It? 53
  • Chapter 4 - White Coats and Business Suits 77
  • Chapter 5 - Making Moral Sense 105
  • Chapter 6 - Being and Denial 133
  • Chapter 7 - Back to the Beginning 159
  • Postscript…An Moral Education 185
  • Selected Bibliography 191
  • Index 197
  • About the Author 201
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