Triaging the fittest: Practical wisdom versus logical calculus?

Szalados, James E. (2012). Triaging the fittest: Practical wisdom versus logical calculus?*. Critical care medicine, 40. Retreived from

Excerpt: For physicians, now increasingly highly trained in objective analysis, clinical ethics is frequently perceived as a “softer” and therefore more theoretical medical discipline because the issues addressed in ethical analyses are typically poorly quantifiable. Thus, while classic ethical theory may be taught easily in a classroom context, its ramifications are more difficult to teach in the acute, clinical context. Still, ethics lies at the heart of all medical science.

Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is both a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality, and also the foundation of the codes of behavior and rules of conduct encompassing physicians' obligations to patients, colleagues, and to society. As such, when the theoretical framework of clinical ethics is stripped away, what remains is a framework for problem solving through the application of behavioral norms in complex situations, which may not have clear cut answers, and where decisions may be subject to retrospective self-doubt and collective scrutiny. It is exactly a vulnerability that can make ethical theory so difficult to apply in a clinical sense.

Aristotelian ethical theory, rarely alluded to in modern ethical analyses, distinguishes “sophia,” or that knowing which concerns universal truths, from “phronesis,” a more complex form of ethical analysis, which Aristotle defined as a capability to reflect, consider, and decide potential actions to deliver changes necessary to maintain the quality of life (1). The notion of phronesis is a kind of practical wisdom (2), one that cannot be taught from textbooks, and a wisdom that is garnered from professionalism (“virtue”) and extensive real-world experience.

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(Something interesting I found)Posted:Feb 01 2012, 12:00 AM by brendah
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