Is it time for bioethics to go empirical?

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    26 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Observers who note the increasing popularity of bioethics discussions often complain that the social sciences are poorly represented in discussions about things like abortion and stem-cell research. Critics say that bioethicists should be incorporating the methods and findings of social scientists, and should move towards making the discipline more empirically oriented. This way, critics argue, bioethics will remain relevant, and truly reflect the needs of actual people. Such recommendations ignore the diversity of viewpoints in bioethics, however. Bioethics can gain much from the methods and findings from ethnographies and similar research. But it is misleading to suggest that bioethicists are unaware of this potential benefit. Not only that, bioethicists are justified in having doubts about the utility of the social science approach in some cases. This is not because there is some inherent superiority in non-empirical approaches to moral argument. Rather, the doubts concern the nature of the facts that the sciences would provide. Perhaps the larger point is that disagreements about the relationship between facts and normative arguments should be seen as part of the normal inquiry in bioethics, not evidence that reform is needed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)137-146
    Number of pages10
    JournalBioethics
    Volume22
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1 Mar 2008

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    Bioethics
    bioethics
    Ethicists
    Social Sciences
    critic
    social science
    Cultural Anthropology
    stem cell research
    Stem Cell Research
    social scientist
    abortion
    ethnography
    popularity
    time
    reform
    science
    Research
    evidence

    Keywords

    • Applied ethics
    • Methodology
    • Principlism
    • Social science

    Cite this

    Herrera, Chris. / Is it time for bioethics to go empirical?. In: Bioethics. 2008 ; Vol. 22, No. 3. pp. 137-146.
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    Is it time for bioethics to go empirical? / Herrera, Chris.

    In: Bioethics, Vol. 22, No. 3, 01.03.2008, p. 137-146.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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