Two concepts of empirical ethics

Parker, Malcolm (2009) Two concepts of empirical ethics. Bioethics, 23 4: 202-213. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01708.x

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Author Parker, Malcolm
Title Two concepts of empirical ethics
Journal name Bioethics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0269-9702
1467-8519
Publication date 2009-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01708.x
Volume 23
Issue 4
Start page 202
End page 213
Total pages 12
Editor Bert Molewijk
Lucy Frith
Place of publication Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Subject C1
2201 Applied Ethics
2203 Philosophy
2204 Religion and Religious Studies
Formatted abstract
The turn to empirical ethics answers two calls. The first is for a richer account of morality than that afforded by bioethical principlism, which is cast as excessively abstract and thin on the facts. The second is for the facts in question to be those of human experience and not some other, unworldly realm. Empirical ethics therefore promises a richer naturalistic ethics, but in fulfilling the second call it often fails to heed the metaethical requirements related to the first. Empirical ethics risks losing the normative edge which necessarily characterizes the ethical, by failing to account for the nature and the logic of moral norms. I sketch a naturalistic theory, teleological expressivism (TE), which negotiates the naturalistic fallacy by providing a more satisfactory means of taking into account facts and research data with ethical implications. The examples of informed consent and the euthanasia debate are used to illustrate the superiority of this approach, and the problems consequent on including the facts in the wrong kind of way.
Keyword Empirical ethics
Expressivism
Fact
Value distinction
Naturalistic ethics
Principlism
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes A version of this paper was presented at the 2007 joint conference of the Australasian Bioethics Association (ABA) and the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Health, Law and Ethics (ANZIHLE), in Melbourne Victoria, as the ABA Presidential address.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Created: Wed, 22 Sep 2010, 09:47:58 EST