2012 年 30 巻 p. 30-39
When we discuss medical technology or its application to healthcare, we often refer to "consensus building." However, we rarely hear this term used in the context of discussions concerning ethics. Consensus alone cannot guarantee ethical behavior, however, and so there is a need to consider possible ways of justifying the application of consensus to ethics, as well as to develop a mode of consensus building that is ethically appropriate. At the outset of this study, I introduce prior Japanese scholarship related to this issue, as a means of prefacing my discussion. Next, I suggest that the narrative method can play a positive role in the consensus building process. More specifically, in the context of a discussion of advanced medical technology, I state that "narrative consensus building" plays an important role. This is due to the fact that we are required to evaluate such advanced medical technologies during the long process through which they come to be accepted within societies. The question of whether these technologies should be accepted cannot be answered only through cost-benefit analysis. Therefore, we need to adopt a narrative mode of thought when pursuing a process of consensus building. Finally, I take up the role of bioethicists in the process of consensus building. First, they can be the facilitators of such discussions. Secondly, they can serve as narrators themselves, producing the narratives that make it possible to imagine a future society within which we have adopted advanced medical technologies.