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Medical complicity and the legitimacy of practical authority.

Ehrenberg, Kenneth (2020) Medical complicity and the legitimacy of practical authority. Ethics, Medicine and Public Health, 12.

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Abstract

If medical complicity is understood as compliance with a directive to act against the professional's best medical judgment, the question arises whether it can ever be justified. This paper will trace the contours of what would legitimate a directive to act against a professional's best medical judgment (and in possible contravention of her oath) using Joseph Raz's service conception of authority. The service conception is useful for basing the legitimacy of authoritative directives on the ability of the putative authority to enable subjects to comply better with reasons that already apply to them. Hence, the service conception bases the legitimacy of practical authority on a certain kind of greater knowledge or expertise. This helps to focus the conundrum regarding complicity on the clash of expertise between the medical expert and the governing body tasked with coordinating behaviour and otherwise devising rules for the social good. The ethical dilemma presented by a hypothetically legitimate directive to act against a professional's best medical judgment also serves to highlight the moral dimension of one's duty to obey a legitimate authority.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Law
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Ehrenberg, Kennethk.ehrenberg@surrey.ac.uk
Date : 16 January 2020
DOI : 10.1016/j.jemep.2019.100430
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2019 The Author
Uncontrolled Keywords : Joseph Raz; Legitimacy; Medical complicity; Moral duty; Practical authority
Depositing User : James Marshall
Date Deposited : 23 Jan 2020 15:08
Last Modified : 05 Feb 2020 10:06
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/853375

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