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Deliver Us from Certainty: Training for Narrative Ethics 

Deliver Us from Certainty: Training for Narrative Ethics
Deliver Us from Certainty: Training for Narrative Ethics

Craig Irvine

and Rita Charon

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date: 22 January 2022

This chapter summarizes the application of philosophical thought in healthcare with the rise of bioethics in the United States. The dominant approach, a rule-based principlism, is described, with a summary of challenges to principlism including casuistry, virtue ethics, and narrative ethics. Narratologists examine the ethical relationships between readers and texts, while clinicians and bioethicists practice narrative ethics through a “ground-up” attention to each patient’s particular needs and desires. Revealing the commonalities between the ethics of reading and the ethics of clinical practice, the chapter proposes the fruitfulness of putting them side by side. Training in narrative medicine may be the optimal training for those who practice narrative ethics in clinical settings, for the major tools of narrative ethics are those fortified by close reading, use of the imagination, radical humility, and the capacity to represent situations so as to fully perceive them.

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