Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Glenn C. Graber

Committee Members

Betsy C. Postow, Charles H. Reynolds, Kathleen Emmett


Current normative analyses and recommendations in medical ethics do not sufficiently analyze the social context of concrete ethical problems. This results in impractical or ineffective policy recommendations or case responses which reinforce the social context which created the ethical problem. A social analysis is possible which displays how the social context directs the communication and action of physicians and patients, and in turn reinforces and further establishes these influential social factors. Such a social analysis provides a means of integrating short-term case-responses with long-term institutional policy and structural change. The latter, on this analysis, is the more ethically "complete", and unintegrated short-term responses threaten to undermine these efforts.

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Philosophy Commons