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Ethics consultation: An Asian approach from the perspectives of Cheng Li Fa

Michael Cheng-Tek Tai

School of Medical Sociology and Social Work, Chungshan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

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How do Asians solve the daily problems they confront in life? When facing an ethical dilemma in a clinical situation, how do they find their answer? Are they deontologically oriented or utilitarian-minded in decision making? From a Confucian perspective, decision making can be more deontological, yet in general ethics consultation, it tends to be both. Three questions usually are considered when confronting a dilemma, either in a clinical setting or in personal disputes. First, under a given circumstance, what is the motivation of the act and is it justifiable? Second, is the act or suggested solution reasonable and does it proceed according to the principles and propriety conventionally acceptable in society? Third, when the first two fail to come up with an acceptable solution, is the act or suggested solution legal and lawful? These three questions in Chinese are known as the ethics of Cheng Li Fa, described as “ho-cheng, ho-li, ho-fa” meaning: “is the motivation acceptable in a given situation?”, “Is the recommended solution reasonable?”, and “Is it lawful?” This presentation discusses how a consultation is done through these three aspects. First, explore the situation based on compassion. Second, find a reasonable recommendation that is not contrary to social propriety. Third, when the first two fail, appeal to the law for a legal verdict.

Asian approach; Compassion; Consultation; Situation


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