Physicians and patients: Moral agency in a pluralistic world

  • Erich H. Loewy


This paper examines the role of the physician in a pluralistic community. A personal and communal sense of identity must resolve a vast array of often conflicting backgrounds and contexts in order to function smoothly. Physicians are neither entitled to impose their own moral views on their patients nor expected to surrender their own moral agency. Several illustrative cases are given. The solution of inevitable conflicts is embodied within the context of the situation, but since irreconcilable differences remain, a resolution is not always possible. Tolerance for such differences and ways of dealing with them allows the integrity of both parties to remain intact.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Engelhardt H.T. Bioethics in Pluralist Society.Persp. in Bio. & Med. 26, 1982 64–78.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kant IFoundations of the Metaphysics of Morals. Bobbs-Merrill, 1980.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Macklin R. Consent, Coercion & Conflicts of Rights,Persp. in Bio. J Med., 20 1977, 360–371.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kass L.R. Regarding the End of Medicine and the Pursuit of Health.Public Interest, 40 1975, 11–45.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kass L.R. Ethical Dilemmas in the Care of the Ill: II. What is the Patient's Good?JAMA, 244(17), 1980, 1946–1949.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erich H. Loewy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of Illinois College of Medicine at PeoriaPeoria

Personalised recommendations