EULA and Symphonology ethics

Have you encountered Symphonology in school? I assume there are other perspectives on nursing ethics out there, but we haven't been exposed to any others in my nursing program. The textbook on Symphonology is a bear: full of convoluted, circular statements and tautaulogies written by an amateur philosopher and his wife, who has a doctorate in nursing. It is a system of virtue ethics, which has a respectable lineage, but essentially dismisses all other ethical perspectives out of hand. On the face of it, the whole idea is that nurses establish with patients and their family de facto interpersonal contracts ("agreements"), which the nurse has a responsibility to uphold (whether the patient likes it or not). I've only had time to make even a modicum of a close reading of the first chapter, and it seemed to me to conclude that the nurse's ethical role is to get control of the patient care situation, which is pretty cynical to me.

If you have ever purchased anything, you are probably aware of the extensive End-User Licensing Agreements ("EULA") that you as a consumer enter into by simply opening packaging. On the web and in the communications industry, these have gotten absurdly out of hand, with consumers theoretically giving away the rights to everything they post on the web, including personal e-mails and such.

On BoingBoing today, they have linked to a humorous amateur video showing what would happen if EULAs were extended to all interpersonal interactions. The critique of EULAs, as represented here, is essentially that they assume a "buy-in" by the consumer to the entire regulatory and contract structure that EULAs are built on, whereas the consumer makes no such assumption. Essentially, there is a mismatch in the "meta-contract" that underlies all formal contract law. I think this is a pretty damning critique since formal contracts are blessed only by social convention instantiated in courts and legislatures. When social conventions don't represent common assumptions about society by its members, they are (1) useless, (2) pernicious, and (3) arguably delegitimate.

Anyhow, it just occurred to me while watching this video that Symphonology has a relationship to EULA. I haven't decided what that is yet. Symphonology may be the opposite of EULA--i.e., only a reflection of actual assumptions--or may be akin to EULA or may be something in between. I'll have to wait until graduating to take a closer look at the Symphonology textbook.

Anyhow, enjoy the vid:

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