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Most current writing in medical ethics emphasizes problem solving. Smith and Harmon focus instead on the requirements of good character and good community. This older approach leads them to downplay the role of patients' rights, which has emerged from some problem-solving approaches.
To justify their chosen tack, the authors argue that beliefs about moral norms cannot be understood in the absence of an implicit cultural background. They discuss general themes, offering an overview of culture rather than close analyses of key concepts. For example, the authors do not analyze the conceptual differences between needs and desires. Instead, they consider the
Professional Ethics and Primary Care Medicine: Beyond Dilemmas and Decorum.. Ann Intern Med. ;105:324. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-105-2-324_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1986;105(2):324.
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