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J Med Philos. 1992 Oct;17(5):511-39.

Moving forward in bioethical theory: theories, cases, and specified principlism.

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  • 1Department of Philosophy, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052.


The field of bioethics has deployed different models of justification for particular moral judgments. The best known models are those of deductivism, casuistry, and principlism (under one, rather limited interpretation). Each of these models, however, has significant difficulties that are explored in this essay. An alternative model, suggested by the work of Henry Richardson, is presented. It is argued that specified principlism is the most promising model of justification in bioethics.

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