Terrence Ackerman has suggested that we ought to view general bioethical principles as generalizations which summarize our previous bioethical decisions rather than as moral rules. He would have us derive our ethical views instead principally from the facts of the cases in question and our intuitions about them. The proposal is attractive because of its similarity to medical decision-making, but it fails because it allows for no higher order standard of reference against which conflicting ethical intuitions may be judged.

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