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This chapter outlines our dual value theory. At the most general level, the theory consists of two substantive values, a formal distributive principle, and a scope determining the set of beings with moral status. The two values are well-being and respect for rights-holders. The distributive principle is equal consideration for all beings with moral status. And the scope is the set of sentient beings. Although our approach confers equal moral consideration on all sentient beings, it does not regard all sentient beings as rights-holders. On the basis of these ideas, we specify mid-level principles pertaining to nonmaleficence, beneficence, distributive justice, and autonomy rights. We also explain the key respects in which our theory differs from the principle-based approach of Tom Beauchamp and James Childress, and comment on other types of ethical theory.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book which prompts us to wonder whether we are compelled to choose between secular and religious approaches to poverty. The book addresses questions about poverty and the poor within specific ethical traditions articulating ethical or normative theories rather than empirical claims. It provides readers with the opportunity to make comparisons between and among several secular and religious traditions, as well as to make comparisons within what are never truly homogeneous and unchanging systems of ethical thought, texts, and behavior. Addressing poverty across, not just within, national boundaries requires a better understanding of the variegated intellectual and religious traditions that have shaped our global civilization. In a modest and tentative way, the book helps to build that understanding and, in so doing, contributes to the alleviation of deprivation and want, wherever it may exist.
Ordinarily, when discussing treatment options with a patient, doctors manage to fulfill an ethical obligation by ensuring that the patient's treatment choices are accommodated as far as possible. The four key ethical principles are: beneficence, non-maleficence, respect for autonomy, and justice. One of the cornerstones of good medical practice is that before providing treatment or involving a patient in teaching, or research, doctors must be satisfied that they have a valid authority. Usually this requires the patient to consent to the proposed treatment. In critical care the hardest decisions are those concerning when to withhold or withdraw treatment. Despite this the majority of patients who die in critical care departments do so after a decision to withhold or withdraw life-prolonging care. When considering end-of-life issues, good communication with patients and their relatives is essential for establishing priorities and ensuring that the wishes of the patient are paramount.
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