ERIC Number: EJ1081152
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 72
Relevance of the Rationalist-Intuitionist Debate for Ethics and Professionalism in Medical Education
Leffel, G. Michael; Mueller, Ross A. Oakes; Curlin, Farr A.; Yoon, John D.
Advances in Health Sciences Education, v20 n5 p1371-1383 Dec 2015
Despite widespread pedagogical efforts to modify discrete behaviors in developing physicians, the professionalism movement has generally shied away from essential questions such as what virtues characterize the good physician, and how are those virtues formed? Although there is widespread adoption of medical ethics curricula, there is still no consensus about the primary goals of ethics education. Two prevailing perspectives dominate the literature, constituting what is sometimes referred to as the "virtue/skill dichotomy". The first perspective argues that teaching ethics is a means of providing physicians with a skill set for analyzing and resolving ethical dilemmas. The second perspective suggests that teaching ethics is a means of creating virtuous physicians. The authors argue that this debate about medical ethics education mirrors the Rationalist-Intuitionist debate in contemporary moral psychology. In the following essay, the authors sketch the relevance of the Rationalist-Intuitionist debate to medical ethics and professionalism. They then outline a moral intuitionist model of virtuous caring that derives from but also extends the "social intuitionist model" of moral action and virtue. This moral intuitionist model suggests several practical implications specifically for medical character education but also for health science education in general. This approach proposes that character development is best accomplished by "tuning-up" (activating) moral intuitions, "amplifying" (intensifying) moral emotions related to intuitions, and "strengthening" (expanding) intuition-expressive, emotion-related moral virtues, more than by "learning" explicit ethical rules or principles.
Descriptors: Medical Education, Professionalism, Values Education, Ethical Instruction, Intuition, Psychological Patterns, Moral Values
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A