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Feminist and Medical Ethics: Two Different Approaches to Contextual Ethics

Susan Sherwin
Hypatia
Vol. 4, No. 2, Feminist Ethics & Medicine (Summer, 1989), pp. 57-72
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Hypatia, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3809806
Page Count: 16
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Feminist and Medical Ethics: Two Different Approaches to Contextual Ethics
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Abstract

Feminist ethics and medical ethics are critical of contemporary moral theory in several similar respects. There is a shared sense of frustration with the level of abstraction and generality that characterizes traditional philosophic work in ethics and a common commitment to including contextual details and allowing room for the personal aspects of relationships in ethical analysis. This paper explores the ways in which context is appealed to in feminist and medical ethics, the sort of details that should be included in the recommended narrative approaches to ethical problems, and the difference it makes to our ethical deliberations if we add an explicitly feminist political analysis to our discussion of context. It is claimed that an analysis of gender is needed for feminist medical ethics and that this requires a certain degree of generality, i.e. a political understanding of context.

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