To practice medicine and ethics, physicians need wisdom and integrity to integrate scientific knowledge, patient preferences, their own moral commitments, and society's expectations. This work of integration requires a physician to pursue certain goals of care, determine moral priorities, and understand that conscience or integrity require harmony among a person's beliefs, values, reasoning, actions, and identity. But the moral and religious pluralism of contemporary society makes this integration challenging and uncertain. How physicians treat patients will depend on the particular beliefs and values they and other health professionals bring to each instance of shared decision making. This book offers a framework for practical wisdom in medicine that addresses the need for integrity in the life of each health professional. In doing so, it acknowledges the challenge of moral pluralism and the need for moral dialogue and humility as professionals fulfill their obligations to patients, themselves, and society.
1. Medicine as a goal-directed, moral practice; 2. Virtue ethics; 3. Practical wisdom in medicine; 4. Conscience and its relation to practical wisdom; 5. The authority, fallibility, and normative reach of conscience; 6. Conscience as integrity; 7. The challenge and inescapability of religious pluralism; 8. Implications of moral pluralism for public dialogue and professional practice; 9. Conscientious objection and conscientious practice; 10. An integrity-centered framework for practical wisdom in medicine.