Theoretical Medicine

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 65-74

First online:

Casuistry and clinical ethics

  • Albert R. JonsenAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California

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For the last century, moral philosophy has stressed theory for the analysis of moral argument and concepts. In the last decade, interest in the ethical issues of health care has stimulated attention to cases and particular instances. This has revealed the gap between ethical theory and practice. This article reviews the history and method of casuistry which for many centuries provided an approach to practical ethics. Its strengths and weaknesses are noted and its potential for contemporary use explored.

Key words

Casuistry Clinical ethics Case study Practical ethics