Towards a principle-based moral case deliberation method
Berg, C.L. van den
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If a principle-based method for moral case deliberation for use in a clinical setting is to succeed, it has to deal with the criticism put forth by particularists. Their main charge is that principles are either too abstract or too rigid to guide action. Secondly, a principle-based moral case deliberation method must be practically feasible. As such, it must be usable in a morally pluralistic context, be accessible to laymen in ethical theory, and be able to resolve conflict in a timely fashion. First casuistry is analysed as a moral case deliberation method which does not require reference to principles. Concluding that casuistry fails to sufficiently justify choosing one course of action over another, I move on to analyse two promising methods which rely on bringing principles to bear on a case. The first method is Onora O’Neill’s account of practical judgement and the second is Henry Richardson’s method of specification of norms. Both methods succeed in evading the particularists’ points of criticism, but have weaknesses when it comes to practical feasibility.