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Clinical Pragmatism: A Method of Moral Problem Solving

From: Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal
Volume 7, Number 2, June 1997
pp. 129-143 | 10.1353/ken.1997.0013


This paper presents a method of moral problem solving in clinical practice that is inspired by the philosophy of John Dewey. This method, called "clinical pragmatism," integrates clinical and ethical decision making. Clinical pragmatism focuses on the interpersonal processes of assessment and consensus formation as well as the ethical analysis of relevant moral considerations. The steps in this method are delineated and then illustrated through a detailed case study. The implications of clinical pragmatism for the use of principles in moral problem solving are discussed.