Are there Absolute Moral Obligations Towards Finite Goods? A Critique of ‘Teleological Ethics’ and of the Destruction of Bioethics Through Consequentialism

On the Invertebratitis of Medical Ethics and Its Cure
  • Josef Seifert
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 82)


Even if we recognize the crucial significance of moral values and resist any form of ethical relativism and nihilism, as well as any fideistic’ secular ethical agnosticism’—as we have done in the preceding chapters—there are still many forms of ethical systems that likewise reject relativism and skepticism but otherwise take completely opposite stances when it comes to the question which medical ethics physicians and hospitals should adopt today. In the present chapter, we will deal critically with a position in medical ethics that, while not denying objective moral values of human acts, reduces them in some way to the indirect values these actions possess in virtue of bringing about consequences different from the acts themselves. This position judges the moral quality of human acts simply by a calculus of consequences and—applying the principle of proportionalism—seeks to weigh these consequences, in order to determine the morally right or wrong (good or evil) character of human acts. If adopted, this position changes traditional medical ethics radically.


External Action Moral Quality Moral Good Moral Imperative Moral Evil 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josef Seifert
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.International Academy of Philosophy in the Principality of Liechtenstein (IAP) and Chile (IAP-PUC)SantiagoChile
  2. 2.Pontifícia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

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