Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Reasons, reasonability and establishing conscientious objector status in medicine
  1. Robert F Card
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robert F Card, Department of Philosophy, 212 Campus Center, State University of New York, Oswego, University of Rochester Medical Center, Oswego, NY 13126, USA; robert.card{at}


This paper builds upon previous work in which I argue that we should assess a provider's reasons for his or her objection before granting a conscientious exemption. For instance, if the medical professional's reasoned basis involves an empirical mistake, an accommodation is not warranted. This article poses and begins to address several deep questions about the workings of what I call a reason-giving view: What standard should we use to assess reasons? What policy should we adopt in order to evaluate the reasons offered by medical practitioners in support of their objections? I argue for a reasonability standard to perform the essential function of assessing reasons, and I offer considerations in support of a policy establishing conscientious objector status in medicine.

  • Conscientious Objection
  • Philosophy of Medicine
  • Political Philosophy
  • Public Policy

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.