Is there unity within the discipline?

Newham, Roger (2012) Is there unity within the discipline? Nursing Philosophy, 13 (3). pp. 214-223. ISSN 1466-769X

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This paper will examine a claim that nursing is united by its moral stance. The claim is that there are moral constraints on nurses' actions as people practising nursing (nurses qua nurses) and that they are in some way different from both what for now can be called standard morality and also different from the person's own moral views who also happens to be a nurse, hence the defining and unifying factor for nursing. I will begin by situating the claim within the broader area about the need for a definition to state features that are essential to all and only members of its class. This will highlight the fact that there are two distinct types of definition used by authors seeking to find a unity for nursing. One type of definition has to do with goals or purposes given to nursing and the other with ends discovered as nursing. But even if there are ends waiting to be discovered a particular practical concern is how we can have knowledge of them. I will suggest that knowledge by intuition is plausible but that as things currently stand in moral epistemology it will not provide the unifying ground for nursing. Then I will argue that in the latter approach to definition a certain account of human nature has been advanced in order to provide features that are there to be discovered and so not dependent on human beings for the definition or classification. However, such an attempt to define nursing cannot do what is wanted. Rather than the account of human nature grounding morality and doing so for nursing, the account of human nature itself relies upon a prior account of morality. Because of this it loses its supposed ground of unity for the profession. Nursing is not united by its moral stance especially if this is understood in a strong sense as unique moral stance, but as things currently stand in moral epistemology this is not necessarily a bad thing for practitioners or patients.

Item Type: Article
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Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 30 May 2013 14:06
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2017 19:21

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