What Is Everyday Ethics? A Review and a Proposal for an Integrative Concept
Natalie Zizzo, Emily Bell, and Eric Racine
“Everyday ethics” is a term that has been used in the clinical and ethics literature for decades to designate normatively important and pervasive issues in healthcare. In spite of its importance, the term has not been reviewed and analyzed carefully. We undertook a literature review to understand how the term has been employed and defined, finding that it is often contrasted to “dramatic ethics.” We identified the core attributes most commonly associated with everyday ethics. We then propose an integrative model of everyday ethics that builds on the contribution of different ethical theories. This model proposes that the function of everyday ethics is to serve as an integrative concept that (1) helps to detect current blind spots in bioethics (that is, shifts the focus from dramatic ethics) and (2) mobilizes moral agents to address these shortcomings of ethical insight. This novel integrative model has theoretical, methodological, practical, and pedagogical implications, which we explore. Because of the pivotal role that moral experience plays in this integrative model, the model could help to bridge empirical ethics research with more conceptual and normative work.
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