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2.4 Role of Causal Reasoning in Medical Thinking
Causal reasoning is not the only reasoning in medicine, however, important
and primordial it is. We reason also about other problems to solve, such as
ethical considerations in medical care, assessing patient attitudes and values
among others.
In the framework of a broader concept of argumentation and critical
thinking, causal reasoning proves useful at most of the steps and in assess-
ing the building blocks of the argument, grounds, backing, and warrant
(perhaps being the most prominent of them all).
If we want to reach a conclusion about the cause of some consequence,
there is no other way than to do so by a cause-effect review, as outlined in
this chapter.
2.5 Critical Thinking, Communication, and Decision
Making and Their Connection to Medical Ethics
Is there a connection between medical ethics and reasoning, communica-
tion, and decision making in health sciences? Yes. They are not only vehicles
governed by the rules of ethics, but also part of medical ethics themselves.
Correct rules and ways of reasoning, communication, and decision making
lie behind good ethics in the health domain. In the opposite direction,
good ethics are needed as a framework for reasoning, communication, and
decision making in all health professions.
Medical ethics may be virtue-based, principle-based, or duty-based. Six
values apply: autonomy (the patient has the last word), beneficence (acting
in the best interest of the patient), non-maleficence (primum non nocere) ,
justice (fairness and equality in the distribution of resources and care),
dignity , and truthfulness and honesty (informed consent).
We may define medical ethics as “… rules of conduct for a health professional
to distinguish between right and wrong. They serve as a moral basis in medi-
cal, nursing, and other care, research, and administration.” Medical ethics falls
into the broader framework of bioethics and ethics in its largest sense. 71
Many professional institutions such as the American Medical Association
( AMA Code of Ethics ), British Medical Association ( BMA Code of Ethics ),
Canadian Medical Association ( CMA Code of Ethics ), and others have their
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