Knowing-how to care

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Abstract

This paper advances a new moral epistemology and explores some of its normative and practical, especially bioethical, implications. In the first part, it shows that there is moral knowledge and that it is best understood in terms of knowing-how. Thus, moral knowledge cannot be analysed purely in the traditional terms of knowing-that. The fundamental idea is that one knows-how to act morally only if she is capable of following the right normative standards. In the second part, the paper discusses ways of integrating two expressions of moral knowing-how, namely caring and respecting into a coherent normative theory. It builds up the concept of respectful care as the central ingredient of such a normative theory. Finally, it illustrates how respectful care may transform some of our current clinical bioethical practices.

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