Policy considerations to achieve practical ethics: closing the gap between ethical theory and practice

  • Mansure Madani ORCID PhD Candidate in Medical Ethics, Medical Ethics and History of Medicine Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; PhD Candidate in Medical Ethics, Medical Ethics and History of Medicine Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Department of Medical Ethics, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • Nazafarin Ghasemzadeh ORCID Researcher, Department of Medical Ethics, Faculty of Medicine, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran.
  • Ali Dizani ORCID Researcher, Qom Seminary and Department of Islamic Knowledge and Humanities, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.
  • Ahad Faramarz Gharamaleki ORCID Professor, Department of Islamic Theology and Philosophy, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
  • Bagher Larijani ORCID Mail Professor, Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinical Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Intrinsic and extrinsic coercion; Ethics and law interaction; Policies and intrinsic motivation; Social ethics


Social and professional behaviors are driven by extrinsic as well as intrinsic factors including executive rules and regulations enacted by extrinsic agents through coercion, police force and penalties. Despite their effectiveness, these mechanisms undermine the fact that ethics is an intrinsic human quality. The present study seeks strategies to apply extrinsic coercion as an incentive to direct ethics as an intrinsic value.

Ethical behaviors driven by intrinsic motivations are more permanent and less costly. Legal force can either strengthen or weaken intrinsic requirements. Extrinsic conditions such as considering the interests, attitudes and preferences of others, involving people in the regulation and execution of law, justification of law, avoiding excessive punishment or rewards, and indirect support of ethics by establishing the appropriate social context can help boost intrinsic requirements in individuals.

Ethics will not be practically established unless we harness individuals’ ‘willingness to act’ as an essential determinant for ethical behavior. This requires adoption of a more psychological approach to ethics. If this aspect of ethical behavior is considered in regulations and executive processes, extrinsic forces can strengthen intrinsic requirements and spread ethics.


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How to Cite
Madani M, Ghasemzadeh N, Dizani A, Faramarz Gharamaleki A, Larijani B. Policy considerations to achieve practical ethics: closing the gap between ethical theory and practice. J Med Ethics Hist Med. 13.
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