The Flossopher: A lover of wisdom…teeth
Welcome dental professionals to The Flossopher, a dental ethics and philosophy blog! Do you ever question why you do the things you do?
The intention of this site is to increase engagement of dental students, practicers, policy makers, and academic in philosophical examination. The goal is to help dental professionals better examine their lives, encouraging ethical careers and treatment of patients.
The Flossopher is mainly concerned with the engagement of the ethical principles set out in academic dental bioethics. The principles are (1) justice, (2) beneficence, (3) maleficence, and (4) respect for autonomy. However, we will also explore metaphysical and epistemological issues in dentistry. Metaphysics is the rational inquiry into the nature of reality behind abstract concepts such as health, beauty, and ethics. Epistemology involves the difficulty for humans to grain knowledge in such inquiry.
We examine issues in dentistry from a philosophical perspective. Many authors in the field of healthcare ethics stick to case studies. They then offer clinical or legal advice. This may be fine for particular situations, but the goal of a philosopher is to become better acquainted with universal principles. These universal principles (“first principles”) help resolve all ethical situations in real time without having to run to google.
A Life Examined
Philosophy is very practical and helps us to become independent, intentional, and productive agents in a ever chaotic world. Being so bold, I am willing to claim that only through philosophical examination can we be moral agents. Plato warns us that “the unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.” However, we do not all have to go into the streets harassing people like Socrates. In the age of instagram, we must learn to read, engage with sophisticated terminology, and contemplate.
Moving forward, a dental professional must not only examine teeth but examine her life and ask why she does the things she does.
Please start by reading the Intro to Dental Ethics to learn about the four bioethical principles and how to do philosophy.
You can given submit an article for publication in The Flossopher by Contacting the Editor!
Read recent dental ethics and philosophy articles:
A Good Dentist What makes a good dentist? The first thing that comes to mind is how skilled and smart the dentist is. However, a dentist may do very good crown preparations but may lie to patients for financial gain (skill vs virtue). The blog is not concerned about technical dentistry ...Read Article
Introduction The inequitable distribution of professional dental care is a major concern facing the field of dentistry. Of course, dental institutions such as the American Dental Association and dental schools are clearly aware of this issue. There is conflict, however, between the private practice model and the oral health needs ...Read Article
Respect To respect a thing or a person is to hold that object in high regard. We feel disrespected when we are lied to or disregarded. In this article, we will explore the principle of respect for autonomy. I will explain why human dignity is the highest good and why ...Read Article
Hippocratic Oath Some version of the Hippocratic Oath is taken by dental students at the start of dental school. The original version made a promise to Apollo never to ever do surgery, so dental schools have adopted updated versions. However, there is no standardized oath. It would be overwhelming to ...Read Article
Dentistry is part medicine and part artistry. A good dentist needs both to bring patients teeth back to health and function. Cosmetics are opposed to health as some situations require sacrificing longterm health for cosmetics and some sacrificing cosmetics for health. This article offers a different philosophical perspective. A healthy ...Read Article
Defining health is a metaphysical concern because health is an abstract idea or concept. We explore metaphysical questions such as what is health by using the dialectical method. This post is an initial attempt at defining oral health using the dialectical method. We will first explore some common sense conceptions ...Read Article
What Does Smile Design Have to do with Philosophy? Simle design makes dentistry an artistry but also a philosophy. Questions asking what is beautiful are metaphysical questions (read about metaphysics here). Metaphysical questions are those concerned with the nature of reality when it comes to abstract ideas or concepts. The ...Read Article
First Principles Many people think metaphysics is what is transcendental, what is "beyond the physical" or "outside spacetime." Laypeople get this impression from pseudo-intellectual hippies. Academics get this impression from an etymological misunderstanding of "meta" and "physics." Metaphysics, however, is the study of first principles: a set of propositions that explain ...Read Article
The Golden Rule or empathy principle is the most familiar ethical imperative one comes across in everyday life. The rule states that one must treat others as oneself would want to be treated in a similar situation. The rule is easy to understand but it is not recommended to be used ...Read Article
Is Dentistry a Profession or a Business? Throughout dental school, students are asked whether dentistry is a profession or a business. No harm in asking. It is clear to some that dentistry is just a business. Like car mechanics, dentists sell services to people. A patient has trouble with a ...Read Article