The Theory of Common Morality of Bernard Gert

  • Flávio R. L. Paranhos Paranhos Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás
  • Volnei Garrafa Universidade de Brasília
  • Jan Helge Solbakk University of Oslo
Palavras-chave: Bioethics. Philosophical grounding. Moral theory. Common morality. Moral rules. Principlism. Bernard Gert.

Resumo

Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress have been increasingly using a moral theory known as “Theory of Common Morality” as a philosophical basis for their four principle approach to biomedical ethics, currently known as principlism. In the latest edition (2013) of their Principles of Biomedical Ethics, they acknowledge the contribution of some previous theorists of common morality. Bernard Gert, a critic of principlism, is one of them. The aim of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of Gert’s Theory of Common Morality, as developed in his book Common Morality. Deciding What to Do (2004). According to Gert, common morality is a moral system that everyone uses implicitly when making decisions and judgments. This system consists, basically, of moral rules, moral ideals and a two-step procedure used intuitively by every person to decide whether a given violation of a rule or ideal is legitimate. There are ten moral rules, which can be collapsed into two basic ones, Do not cause harm (Do not kill; Do not cause pain; Do not disable; Do not deprive of freedom; Do not deprive of pleasure), and Do not violate the trust (Do not deceive; Keep your promises; Do not cheat; Obey the law; Do your duty). Moral rules apply to moral agents, which are constituted by all humans able to fully understand the moral rules, as well as predict the consequences of their eventual violation. It is our understanding that, despite the highly intuitive appeal of Gert’s approach, as well as of Beauchamp and Childress’s, the Theory of Common Morality has some fundamental flaws which are discussed in the article.

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Biografia do Autor

Flávio R. L. Paranhos Paranhos, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás


Escola de Ciências Médicas, Farmacêuticas e Biomédicas da Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás, Goiânia, Goiás, Brasil.

Volnei Garrafa, Universidade de Brasília


Centro Internacional de Bioética e Humanidades / Cátedra Unesco de Bioética / Programa de PósGraduação em Bioética da Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, DF, Brasil

Jan Helge Solbakk, University of Oslo


Center for Medical Ethics, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Referências

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Beauchamp, T.L. and Childress, J.F. 2013. Principles of Biomedical Ethics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 14 Artigo Original Paranhos, Garrafa, Solbakk. Rev Bras Bioética 2019;15(e2):1-14.

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Paranhos FRL. 2001. Resenha de Alasdair MacIntyre’s Dependent Rational Animals. Philósophos. Journal of Philosophy of the Federal University of Goiás. 6(1/2): 137-143.

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Publicado
2019-08-19
Como Citar
ParanhosF. R. L. P., GarrafaV., & SolbakkJ. H. (2019). The Theory of Common Morality of Bernard Gert. Revista Brasileira De Bioética, 15(1), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.26512/rbb.v15i1.26866
Seção
Artigos Originais

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