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Discuss about the Medical Law and Nursing Ethics.


Categorical Imperative

  1. Categorical imperative has been taken from the ethics of the 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who was the founder of critical philosophy. Categorical imperative is a moral law, which is absolute for every human being. Its validity does not depend upon any motive. According to Kant, human beings hold a special position in the creation of god, as it has got morality. A categorical imperative refers to an absolute requirement that has to be followed under every circumstance.

Kantianism and  ethics of research involving human subjects.

  1. In the world of Science biomedical research often needs the use of human subjects. An experiment might not give a fruitful result if it is implemented on other species, for example in the world of pharmacokinetics. Biomedical researches involving human subjects can raise ethical and legal issues, which have concerned the set of philosophers, scientists, lawyers. In the research the chief role of the human is to serve as a source of the data. It should be kept in mind that all researches involving a human subject should be reviewed by the ethics committee. According to the Kant’s theory, if a person is researched upon without their consent then the person is being simply used as an object for serving a purpose.

How Kantianism can be applied to healthcare?

  1. Kantian formulation of the imperative is often used in healthcare settings. According to Kant, a person should never be used as mean to serve any purpose, especially without his consent. Human testing for various procedures and medications is highly regulated in some nations. However, many has closely monitored trials and used the informed consent process. After getting a better understanding of Kantian ethics, this type of process that occurs in some health care system today is not morally equitable with his beliefs. “Some actions are intrinsically immoral, no matter how positive and beneficial one might judge the consequences to be” (Purtilo, 2005, p. 72).
a) What features, if any, of  Harris’ case for ‘procreative liberty’ do you find compelling?
b) What concerns, if any, do you have about his libertarian arguments?
  1. a) The Journal by Harris J, he has argument about the limiting access to the reproductive technologies and to the gene based reproductive procedures. He has argumented that this limiting access should be denied as they do not possess any harm or serious harms. He had also argument that reproductive liberty should also consist of the liberty to select against the disability for moral effects.
  2. b) Procreative liberty is mainly a negative claim right, which is a right against the interference by the state with the reproductive decisions (Harris, 2005). Procreative liberty is the freedom to make your own decision regarding the procreations. But this procreative right has been interpreted as the right not to reproduce, the right to abortion and contraception. The right to reproduce poses deep questions, particularly when it involves potential harm to other persons, as well as the other parties involved de (Melo-Martín, 2013).

Allmark’s arguments against the role of a distinct ‘ethic of care’ in healthcare.

  1. In the Journal of Medical ethics by Allmark, P. (1995), Allmark has said there is vagueness about the concept of care. He has given an example about a mother, whose son studies in a school, where no absence is permitted unless one is ill, therefore if that son had to do something away from the school, the mother would always write letters saying that the child is ill. Here the mother remains faithful as the ‘one caring’, but if ethics are to be considered, she had done something wrong (Allmark, 1995).


Allmark, P. (1995). Can there be an ethics of care?. Journal of medical ethics, 21(1), 19-24.

de Melo-Martín, I. (2013). Sex selection and the procreative liberty framework. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 23(1), 1-18.

Harris, J. (2005). Reproductive liberty, disease and disability. Reproductive biomedicine online, 10, 13-16.

Herring, J. (2014). Medical law and ethics. Oxford University Press, USA.

Sherman, N. (2014). The place of emotions in Kantian morality. In Kant on Emotion and Value (pp. 11-32). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

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