Like morally sensitive hospital staff, philosophers resist routine simplification of morally complex cases. Like hospital clergy, they favour reflective and principled decision-making. Like hospital lawyers, they refine and extend the language we use to formulate and defend our complex decisions. But hospital philosophers are not redundant: they have a wider range of principles and categories and a sharper eye for self-serving presuppositions and implicit contradictions within our practices. As semi-outsiders, they are often best able to take an 'external point of view,' unburdened by routine, details, and departmental loyalties. Their clarifications can temporarily disrupt routine, but can eventually improve staff morale, hence team practice and patient welfare.
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