Document Detail

Appropriate methodologies for empirical bioethics: it's all relative.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19338525     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In this article we distinguish between philosophical bioethics (PB), descriptive policy orientated bioethics (DPOB) and normative policy oriented bioethics (NPOB). We argue that finding an appropriate methodology for combining empirical data and moral theory depends on what the aims of the research endeavour are, and that, for the most part, this combination is only required for NPOB. After briefly discussing the debate around the is/ought problem, and suggesting that both sides of this debate are misunderstanding one another (i.e. one side treats it as a conceptual problem, whilst the other treats it as an empirical claim), we outline and defend a methodological approach to NPOB based on work we have carried out on a project exploring the normative foundations of paternal rights and responsibilities. We suggest that given the prominent role already played by moral intuition in moral theory, one appropriate way to integrate empirical data and philosophical bioethics is to utilize empirically gathered lay intuition as the foundation for ethical reasoning in NPOB. The method we propose involves a modification of a long-established tradition on non-intervention in qualitative data gathering, combined with a form of reflective equilibrium where the demands of theory and data are given equal weight and a pragmatic compromise reached.
Jonathan Ives; Heather Draper
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Bioethics     Volume:  23     ISSN:  1467-8519     ISO Abbreviation:  Bioethics     Publication Date:  2009 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-04-02     Completed Date:  2009-08-07     Revised Date:  2009-11-19    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8704792     Medline TA:  Bioethics     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  249-58     Citation Subset:  E; IM    
Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Primary Care Clinical Sciences, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham.
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MeSH Terms
Data Collection
Data Interpretation, Statistical
Empirical Research*
Ethical Analysis
Ethical Relativism*
Ethical Theory*
Fathers / psychology
Focus Groups
Paternal Behavior
Principle-Based Ethics
Qualitative Research
Research Design*
Grant Support
//Wellcome Trust

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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