'Role' as a moral concept in health care.

Norman E Bowie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In this article, it is argued that an appropriate starting point for an analysis of ethical issues in health care is the consideration of the role obligation of health care professionals. These obligations have customary, legal, and moral elements. By appreciating the different kinds of health care roles and their purposes, one can begin to understand some of the role conflicts which arise in the health care community. Moreover, one can see that some criticisms of health care professionals are mistaken. Nonetheless, there are internal conflicts with the roles of persons engaged in health care and historically some role obligations have violated fundamental universal norms. Whereas the latter inadequacy of health care role obligations can be eliminated, the former will, to at least some extent, always be with us. In short, it may be argued that some of the so-called "moral dilemmas"in health care can be resolved by taking the perspective of role morality. As will be shown, this does not suggest that there are no limitations of role morality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 1982


Dive into the research topics of ''Role' as a moral concept in health care.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this