Narrative Ethics

Tom Tomlinson

in Methods in Medical Ethics

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780195161243
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950317 | DOI:
Narrative Ethics

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This chapter focuses on the epistemological or justifying roles stories might play, rather than their roles in moral development. I further distinguish between stories as received (heard or read) and stories as created (written or enacted). I then critically examine several claims made about narrative. That reading stories can enlarge our moral experience in ways that will be useful when confronting the particular problems of individual patients. That narrative is the vehicle which can bridge the gap between abstract rules and particular cases. And that narrative carries an alternative form of rationality with it that is both useful in thinking about ethical choices and that cannot be captured by argument from principles. Despite the limits of these claims, at the end of the chapter I argue that the feature that makes narratives less useful for justification– their movement away from abstraction– makes them more useful for investigation.

Keywords: medical ethics; bioethics; moral reasoning; moral judgment; narrative; stories; discovery

Chapter.  10888 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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