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Abstract

The United Kingdom’s General Medical Council investigation of Dr. Michael Munro raises concerns about the ability of normative ethics to satisfactorily ‘solve’ ethical dilemmas in isolation within the real world. In this particular case it seems vague utilitarian principles were used to justify actions by a doctor that many people find morally unacceptable. This raises questions of what we might do when we find our normative ethical theories conflicting with our moral intuitions. Is there more to our ethical deliberations than merely implementing specific normative theories? Is there in fact a role for considering other elements in the decision-making process, such as one’s moral intuition? I suggest that despite being criticized as overly subjective or unreliable, there may still be a persuasive social and moral justification for paying attention to the unease of moral intuition when we find it conflicting with our normative judgments, especially in complex real-life clinical situations.

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