Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 25-53

First online:

Richard Zaner’s “Troubled” Voice In Troubled Voices: Poseur, Posing, Possibilizing?

  • Mark J. BlitonAffiliated withCenter for Clinical and Research Ethics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center Email author 

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This essay considers Richard Zaner’s storytelling in Troubled Voices as a form of possibilizing which uses the stories to exemplify important moral themes such as contingency and freedom. Distinguishing between activities of moral discovery through the telling of a story and “posing” in the sense of writing to tell the “moral” of the story, I suggest that something crucial goes on for Zaner in his own tellings. Several of the more insistent implications Zaner reveals about the moral relationships encountered in the activity of clinical ethics consultation are examined in that light, especially regarding this question: is it more beneficial, or harmful, to articulate elements of core meanings and values that are entailed in individual viewpoints, which, prior to an ethics consultant’s participation, may have remained unspoken and possibly unacknowledged?


clinical ethics moral experience moral imagination narrative responsibility