Conference: Is virtue ethics good enough?

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Venue: Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole Street, LONDON, W1G 0AE

Principlism provides us with a commonly accepted way in to medical ethics in the 21st century. But what moral theories actually lie behind this approach to give it an intellectual justification? The second half of the 20th century has seen many disputes within moral theory, and these are bound to have a knock on effect in practical medical ethics. In particular, deontological approaches have had to defend themselves against a resurgence of new forms of utilitarianism, but against this background there has also been a revival of virtue based ethical theories.

So, is virtue ethics good enough? Can it give us a useable approach to medical ethics in the 21st century or, as its critics assert, is it unable to meet the practical requirements of a functioning ethical system?

To examine the potential and the difficulties of using virtue ethics in medicine.

– To give an account of virtue ethics and its use in clinical practice.
– To consider problems and objections to the use of virtue ethics.
– To consider virtue ethics in the context of other ethical approaches.
– To enable delegates to develop their own ethical reasoning.

Who should come?
The conference is suitable for all doctors who are involved in making ethical decisions, whether trainees or seniors, and for all medical ethicists. It would also benefit interested medical students. The conference will be especially suitable for use as part of a GMC revalidation portfolio, relating to the generic and ethical elements of “Good Medical Practice”.

Further information and registration details will be available shortly

9.30 am Registration and coffee
10.00 am Welcome
Dr David Misselbrook, Dean, RSM
Chair: Professor Parveen Kumar, President, Royal Society of Medicine
10.05 am The 2011 RSM Aristotle Lecture
Professor Alastair Campbell, Chen Su Lan Centennial Professor of Medical Ethics, national University of Singapore
10.55 am Discussion
11.05 am Coffee break
Chair: Dr David Misselbrook, Dean, Royal Society of Medicine
11.30 am Virtues need standards: principles can provide those standards
Professor Raanan Gillon
Emeritus Professor of Medical Ethics at Imperial College
12.00 pm Plenary debate with the morning speakers
12.40 pm Lunch with poster presentations
Chair: Professor Rodney Taylor
Professor Margaret Lloyd
President of General Practice with Primary Healthcare Section, Royal Society of Medicine
Parallel group sessions: How does virtue ethics compare with . . .
2.00 pm Feminist ethics
Facilitator: Dr Suzanne Shale, Consultant in Medical Ethics and Education
2.00 pm Deontology
Facilitator: Dr James Wilson
Lecturer in Philosophy and Health, UCL
2.00 pm Utilitarian ethics
Facilitator: Dr John Spicer, Head of GP School, London Deanery (and MA MEL alumnus)
2.00 pm Principlism
Facilitator: Professor Raanan Gillon
Emeritus Professor of Medical Ethics at Imperial College
3.25 pm Plenary and panel discussion
4.15 pm Tea break
Chair: Professor Rodney Taylor, Junior Warden, The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London
4.35 pm Closing Keynote
Dr Iona Heath, President, Royal College of General Practitioners
5.05 pm Close of meeting
6.00 pm Dinner for speakers and delegates who have pre-booked

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