Theory Without Theories: Well-Being, Ethics, and Medicine.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Medical ethics would be better if people were taught to think more clearly about well-being or (what I take to be the same thing) the concept of what is good for a person. Yet for a variety of reasons, bioethicists have generally paid little attention to this concept. Here, I argue, first, that focusing on general theories of welfare is not useful for practical medical ethics. I argue, second, for what I call the "theory-without-theories approach" to welfare in practical contexts. The first element of this approach is a focus on examining important and relatively uncontroversial constituents of welfare as opposed to general theories. The second key element is a framework for thinking about choice in relation to welfare, a framework I refer to as "the mild objectivity framework." I conclude with illustrations of the way in which the "theory without theories approach" can improve thinking in medicine.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hawkins, J

Published Date

  • December 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 46 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 656 - 683

PubMed ID

  • 34655222

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1744-5019

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0360-5310

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/jmp/jhab028


  • eng