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Document Details :
Title: Waar is waarheid? - Where is Truth?
Subtitle: Een wederwoord vanuit medisch-ethisch en personalistisch perspectief - A Commentary from a Medical-Ethical and Personalistic Perspective
Author(s): SCHOTSMANS, Paul
Volume: 58 Issue: 2 Date: 1997
This commentary on Merks' contribution is essentially written from the impact the question of this symposium 'Where is truth?' can have in medical ethics. This well-organised discipline inside applied ethics reached the last decennia a highly functioning importance in the societal discussion on medical progress. The author of this commentary shares with Merks his critique on procedural ethics, a critique which is crucial for medical ethics. Indeed, ethical decision-making procedures have invaded the most important institutes of medical ethics. Recently, this evolution has been criticised for neglecting to establish a foundational ethical culture for medicine. The author thinks personalist ethics can function as such a culture and as an answer to the need for a more comprehensive ethical approach. This leads him to his main critique on Merks' contribution: indeed, where Merks underlines the importance of 'human rights' concepts as a tool for ethical reflection, the author warns for the abuses of this concept in the Anglo-American approach of medical ethics, where the concept functions as an instrument for individual selfdetermination and doesn't refer to the - more Germanic - interpretation of this concept in the lines of a foundation of human dignity. Foundational moral concepts as fundamental disposition, human values and norms seem more apt to develop the type of ethics which is also supported by Merks. Even more it permits a really dynamic ethics, where the most humanly possible is realised in the light of the promotion of the most humanly desirable.