Conscience and the History of Moral Philosophy
The President's Council on Bioethics1
Thursday, September 11, 2008
John Paris, S.J., Ph.D.
Walsh Professor of Bioethics, Department of
Theology, Boston College
Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D.
Georgetown University Medical Center
Members of the Council participating in
Alfonso Gomez-Lobo, D.Phil.
Benjamin S. Carson, M.D.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Rebecca S. Dresser, J.D., M.S.
William B. Hurlburt, M.D.
Gilbert C. Meilaender, Ph.D.
Jean Beth Elshtain, Ph.D
University of Chicago
CHAIRMAN PELLEGRINO: Our next
topic is the topic of conscience and its place in
health care and medical care today, particularly the
question of the conscience of the health
professional and health care institution. In light
of the growth and emergence and almost
absolutization of patient autonomy, how are the two
to be balanced? And what is the present status, both
legally and morally, of the sanctity of the human
conscience? Should the health professional be
morally neutral as some have said?
To start this discussion from its groundwork of
the history of the conscience and definition of what
it is, we've asked Dr. John Paris, the Walsh
Professor of Bioethics in the Department of Theology
at Boston College. Dr. Paris has been a friend of
mine for a long time. I'm not going to give an
extended discussion, but we've asked him to address
the fundamental issues while others will pick up the
more recent issue of relationship to the health
profession specifically. John? [. .
Notes (Provided by the Protection of Conscience
President's Council on Bioethics
by President George W. Bush and operated from 2001
to 2009. President Barack Obama subsequently formed
Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.
Archived transcript of the session.