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J Am Coll Dent. 2011 Fall;78(3):41-6.

Ethics fundamentals.

Abstract

Ethics is about studying the right and the good; morality is about acting as one should. Although there are differences among what is legal, charitable, professional, ethical, and moral, these desirable characteristics tend to cluster and are treasured in dentistry. The traditional approach to professionalism in dentistry is based on a theory of biomedical ethics advanced 30 years ago. Known as the principles approach, general ideals such as respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, and veracity, are offered as guides. Growth in professionalism consists in learning to interpret the application of these principles as one's peers do. Moral behavior is conceived as a continuous cycle of sensitivity to situations requiring moral response, moral reasoning, the moral courage to take action when necessary, and integration of habits of moral behavior into one's character. This essay is the first of two papers that provide the backbone for the IDEA Project of the College--an online, multiformat, interactive "textbook" of ethics for the profession.

PMID:
22263371
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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