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8 A Pluralistic Approach to Medical Ethics

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Chapter Summary

A subjective interpretation most probably leads to an application of principles of medical ethics from the ethical discourse. An advantage of the pluralistic approach, as advocated by some scholars, is that physicians are generally well acquainted with their national regulations or guidelines. This would facilitate their application and lead to coherence among treating physicians. Yet there are also disadvantages to the pluralistic approach. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary, medical ethics have a national component. In commenting on article of Additional Protocol (AP) I, the Commentary establishes that part of medical ethics are 'duties generally decreed by the medical corps of each state in the form of professional duties'. Taking a pluralistic approach to the term medical ethics in articles of AP I and AP II, one should look at which principles of medical ethics are included in national guidelines on medical ethics.

Keywords: Additional Protocol (AP); ICRC; medical ethics; national guidelines; pluralistic approach



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