Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Medical facilities as moral worlds
  1. L Turner
  1. Biomedical Ethics Unit and Department of Social Studies of Medice, McGill University, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr L Turner, 3647 Peel Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 1X1;


Bioethics is dominated by an emphasis on rule making and quandary solving. Teaching and research in ethics often focuses upon dramatic, controversial issues at the margins of life and death. Much less attention is given to the relationship between moral reflection and the ethos of place. Medical facilities, however, are moral worlds. To discuss the ethos of place is to focus on the character or atmosphere of particular dwellings. Architecture, interior design, and the creation of built environments have moral, spiritual, and aesthetic dimensions. Discussions of “ethics” need to be less oriented to rules and dilemmas, and more attuned to practical matters of everyday social experience. Instead of developing all-encompassing critiques of medical facilities as impersonal, alienating institutions, scholars from various fields need to explore the incremental steps that can make particular settings more decent, humane, and caring.

  • Medical facilities
  • moral worlds
  • moral reflection on architecture
  • ethos of place
  • quandary ethics
  • geriatric care

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.