Life and Death Decisions in the Clinical Setting

Moral decision making through dialogic consensus

  • Paul Walker
  • Terence Lovat

Part of the SpringerBriefs in Ethics book series (BRIEFSETHIC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Paul Walker, Terence Lovat
    Pages 11-26
  3. Paul Walker, Terence Lovat
    Pages 37-50
  4. Paul Walker, Terence Lovat
    Pages 51-63

About this book


This book moves away from the frameworks that have traditionally guided ethical decision-making in the Western clinical setting, towards an inclusive, non-coercive and, reflective dialogic approach to moral decision-making. Inspired in part by Jürgen Habermas’s discourse theory of morality and principles of communicative action, the book offers a proportionist approach as a way of balancing out the wisdom in traditional frameworks, set in the actual reality of the clinical situation at hand. Putting this approach into practice requires having a conversation, a dialogue or a discourse, with collaboration amongst all the stakeholders. The aim of the dialogue is to reach consensus in the decision, via mutual understanding of the values held by the patient and others whom they see as significant. This book aims to underscore the moral philosophical foundations for having a meaningful conversation. Life and Death Decision in the Clinical Setting is especially relevant in our contemporary era, characterised medically by an ever-increasing armamentarium of life-sustaining technology, but also by increasing multiculturalism, a multiplicity of faiths, and increasing value pluralism.


Ethical decisions in the clinical context Ethics of life and death Medical morality Moral aspects of clinical practice Impact of multiculturalism on medicine Value pluralism in clinical settings Proportionalism in medicine Proportionalism vs Principalism Discourse morality in clinical settings Discourse ethics in clinical settings Dialogic consensus in clinical decision-making Consensus in clinical decision-making Consensus in clinical decision-making Impact of medical technology on medical ethics Life-prolonging technologies and moral decision making Jürgen Habermas Ethical frameworks in medicine Deontology and life and death Teleology and life and death Virtue ethics in medicine

Authors and affiliations

  • Paul Walker
    • 1
  • Terence Lovat
    • 2
  1. 1.The University of NewcastleSchool of Medicine and Public Health The University of NewcastleNew LambtonAustralia
  2. 2.Sch Humanities & Soc SciThe University of Newcastle Sch Humanities & Soc SciCallaghanAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-981-10-4300-0
  • Online ISBN 978-981-10-4301-7
  • Series Print ISSN 2211-8101
  • Series Online ISSN 2211-811X
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Health & Hospitals