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Jackson, Jennifer, , . Telling the Truth
1991, Journal of Medical Ethics 17(1): 5-9.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: Are doctors and nurses bound by just the same constraints as everyone else in regard to honesty? What, anyway, does honesty require? Telling no lies? Avoiding intentional deception by whatever means? From a utilitarian standpoint lying would seem to be on the same footing as other forms of intentional deception: yielding the same consequences. But utilitarianism fails to explain the wrongness of lying. Doctors and nurses, like everyone else, have a prima facie duty not to lie – but again like everyone else, they are not duty-bound to avoid intentional deception, lying apart; except where it would involve a breach of trust.

Comment: Useful in teaching on applied ethics issues related to trust, and general values in normative ethics. To provide an interesting narrative and selection of views, this text can be used alongside Jennifer Saul's 'Just go ahead and lie' and Clea Rees' 'Better lie!'

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O'Neill, Onora, , . A Question of Trust
2002, Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Publisher’s Note: We say we can no longer trust our public services, institutions or the people who run them. The professionals we have to rely on – politicians, doctors, scientists, businessmen and many others – are treated with suspicion. Their word is doubted, their motives questioned. Whether real or perceived, this crisis of trust has a debilitating impact on society and democracy. Can trust be restored by making people and institutions more accountable? Or do complex systems of accountability and control themselves damage trust? Onora O’Neill challenges current approaches, investigates sources of deception in our society and re-examines questions of press freedom. 2002’s Reith Lectures present a philosopher’s view of trust and deception, and ask whether and how trust can be restored in a modern democracy.

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Rees, Clea F., , . Better lie!
2014, Analysis 74(1): 59-64.
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Abstract: I argue that lying is generally morally better than mere deliberate misleading because the latter involves the exploitation of a greater trust and more seriously abuses our willingness to fulfil epistemic and moral obligations to others. Whereas the liar relies on our figuring out and accepting only what is asserted, the mere deliberate misleader depends on our actively inferring meaning beyond what is said in the form of conversational implicatures as well. When others’ epistemic and moral obligations are determined by standard assumptions of communicative cooperation and no compelling moral reason justifies mere deliberate misleading instead, one had better lie.

Comment: This text works particularly well when used together with Jennifer Saul's "Just go ahead and lie" (2012).

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Saul, Jennifer, , . Just go ahead and lie
2012, Analysis. 72(1): 3-9.
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Abstract: The view that lying is morally worse than merely misleading is a very natural one, which has had many prominent defenders. Nonetheless, here I will argue that it is misguided: holding all else fixed, acts of mere misleading are not morally preferable to acts of lying, and successful lying is not morally worse than merely deliberately misleading. In fact, except in certain very special contexts, I will suggest that – when faced with a felt need to deceive – we might as well just go ahead and lie.

Comment: This text can be used to inspire a discussion on general ethical issues and the practical application of moral theories. It is particularly useful in teaching applied professional ethics. It works well when used together with Clea F. Rees' "Better Lie!"

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Walker, Rebecca L., , . Medical Ethics Needs a New View of Autonomy
2009, Journal of medicine and philosophy 33: 594-608.
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Abstract: The notion of autonomy commonly employed in medical ethics literature and practices is inadequate on three fronts: it fails to properly identify nonautonomous actions and choices, it gives a false account of which features of actions and choices makes them autonomous or nonautonomous, and it provides no grounds for the moral requirement to respect autonomy. In this paper I offer a more adequate framework for how to think about autonomy, but this framework does not lend itself to the kinds of practical application assumed in medical ethics. A general problem then arises: the notion of autonomy used in medical ethics is conceptually inadequate, but conceptually adequate notions of autonomy do not have the practical applications that are the central concern of medical ethics. Thus, a revision both of the view of autonomy and the practice of “respect for autonomy” are in order.

Comment: Walker argues against the Black Box view advocated by Beauchamp and Childress. The text is most useful when discussing principlism in biomedical ethics and more general issues related to autonomy and consent. The text works well when read alongside's Onora O'Neill's "Some limits of informed consent."

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