Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 509-524

First online:

Casuistry and Principlism: The Convergence of Method in Biomedical Ethics

  • Mark KuczewskiAffiliated withCenter for the Study of Bioethics, Medical College of Wisconsin

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Casuistry and principlism are two of the leading contenders to be considered the methodology of bioethics. These methods may be incommensurable since the former emphasizes the examination of cases while the latter focuses on moral principles. Conversely, since both analyze cases in terms of mid-level principles, there is hope that these methods may be reconcilable or complementary. I analyze the role of principles in each and thereby show that these theories are virtually identical when interpreted in a certain light. That is, if the gaps in each method are filled by a concept of judgment or Aristotelian practical wisdom, these methods converge.

casuistry case-based reasoning ethical principles four principles approach principlism practical wisdom prudence medical ethics Aristotle