African American Bioethics: Culture, Race, and Identity

By Lawrence J. Prograis Jr.; Edmund D. Pellegrino | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Revisiting African American
Perspectives on Biomedical
Ethics: Distinctiveness and
Other Questions

Jorge L. A. Garcia

WHAT could make for a perspective on medical ethics that might be meaningfully and helpfully described as African American? Such a point of view might be distinguished by (a) its topics, for example, a focus on the distribution of services and their delivery to the poor, or on certain illnesses disproportionately common or severe among African Americans (e.g., breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, sickle-cell anemia, hypertension); (b) its methodology, contrasting with a two-stage approach (first describing and then justifying “common morality,” as advocated by Bernard Gert, Charles Culver, and K. D. Clouser1), for example, with a principlist method (in the manner of Tom Beauchamp and James Childress), with a casuistical/analogical procedure (as found in Albert Jonsen and Stephen Toulmin), and a nonreductionist form of role-professional ethics; (c) the principles, virtues, or values at work, as in Cheryl Sanders’s claims about African American culture; or (d) some unique claims it makes about the morality (superiority, requirement, wrongness, viciousness, etc.) of certain medical practices, and so on.

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