More About the Derivation of Values-based Practice


Ordinary Language Philosophy and Values-based Practice

Key readings from the Oxford School relevant to values-based practice include

Austin, J.L. (1956-7) A plea for excuses. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 57:1-30. Reprinted in White, A.R., ed. (1968). The Philosophy of Action. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pps 19-42

Hare, R.M. (1952) The Language of Morals. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Hare, R.M. (1963) Descriptivism. Proceedings of the British Academy, 49: 115-134. Reprinted in Hare, R.M. (1972) Essays on the moral concepts. London: The Macmillan Press Ltd

Urmson, J.O. (1950) On Grading. Mind, 59: 145-169

Warnock, G.J. (1971) The Object of Morality. London: Methuen & Co Ltd.

Further critiques of the theory under-pinning values-based practice are described in Research and On-going Development

From the language of values to the language of medicine

The ordinary-language philosophical theory underpinning values-based practice, developed in Moral Theory and Medical Practice (Fulford, KWM, 1989, Cambridge University Press) is developed further in a number of chapters and journal articles. These include

Fulford, K W M, (1998) Dissent and Dissensus: the Limits of Consensus Formation in Psychiatry. In ten Have, H.A.M.J. and Saas, H-M. (eds) Consensus Formation in Health Care Ethics, pps 175-192. Kluwer: Philosophy and Medicine Series

Fulford, K.W.M., (1999) Nine Variations and a Coda on the Theme of an Evolutionary Definition of Dysfunction. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108, No 3, pps 412-420

Fulford, K.W.M. (2000) Teleology without Tears: Naturalism, Neo-Naturalism and Evaluationism in the Analysis of Function Statements in Biology (and a Bet on the Twenty-first Century). Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, 7/1:77-94.

For a recent summary and overview of the derivation of values-based practice, together with a critical commentary by the Oxford philosopher, Roger Crisp, see

Fulford, K.W.M., van Staden, W., (2013) Values-based practice: topsy-turvy take home messages from ordinary language philosophy (and a few next steps) chapter 26, pps 385 – 412, and commentary by Crisp, R., (2013)

Commentary: Values-based practice by a different route. Pps 411 – 412, in Fulford, K.W.M., Davies, M., Gipps, R., Graham, G., Sadler, J., Stanghellini, G., and Thornton, T. (Eds). The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Further critiques of the theory under-pinning values-based practice are described in Research and On-going Development

Bridges between philosophy and practice

There were a number of important bridges between the theory and practice of values-based practice. Notable among these were

The Oxford Practice Skills Program with its emphasis on the role of learnable clinical skills

Hope, T., Fulford, K. W. M. and Yates, A. (1996). The Oxford Practice Skills Course: Ethics, Law and Communication Skills in Health Care Education. Oxford: The Oxford University Press.

Tony Hope went on to become Oxford’s first Professor of Medical Ethics setting up ETHOX (Ethics in Oxford) in the University of Oxford Medical School. This was followed by the establishment of the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics under Professor Julian Savulescu.

The work of the Society for Health and Human Values and other organizations of the diversity of values

Fulford, K.W.M., Dickenson, D. and Murray, T.H. (2002) (eds) Healthcare Ethics and Human Values: An Introductory Text with Readings and Case Studies. Malden, USA, and Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.

Tom Murray later became President of the Society for Health and Human Values; Donna Dickenson set up the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics as Professor of Medical Ethics in the University of Birmingham.