Theory and Methodology of Empirical Ethics: The Literature

Version: 8th June 2009

Alvarez, A.A.A. (2001) ‘How rational should bioethics be? The value of empirical approaches’, Bioethics, 15(5/6): 501-19.

Arnason, V. (2005) ‘Sensible discussion in bioethics: Reflections on interdisciplinary
research’, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 14: 322-28.

Arnold, R.M. and Forrow, L. (1993) ‘Empirical research in medical ethics: An introduction’, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 14: 195-96.

Ashcroft, R.E. (2003), “Constructing Empirical Bioethics: Foucauldian Reflections on the
Empirical Turn in Bioethics Research”, Health Care Analysis, 11 (1), pp. 3-13.

Bennett, R. and Cribb, A. (2001) The Relevance of Empirical Research to Bioethics: Reviewing the Debate. Manchester: EMPIRE project working paper.

Birnbacher, D. (1999) “Ethics and Social Science: which kind of co-operation?, Ethical
Theory and Moral Practice, 2: 319-36.

Borry, P., Schotsmans, P. and Dierickx, K. (2004) ‘What is the role of empirical research in bioethical reflection and decision-making? An ethical analysis’, Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 7: 43-53.

Borry, P., Schotsmans, P. and Dierickx, K. (2004) ‘Editorial… Empirical ethics: A challenge to bioethics’, Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 7: 1-3.

Borry, P., Schotsmans, P. and Dierickx, K. (2005) ‘The birth of the empirical turn in
bioethics’, Bioethics, 19(1): 49-71.

Borry, P., Schotsmans, P. and Dierickx, K. (2006) ‘Empirical research in bioethical journals: A quantitative analysis’, Journal of Medical Ethics, 32: 240-245.

Braunack-Mayer, A. (2001) ‘What makes a problem an ethical problem? An empirical perspective on the nature of ethical problems in general practice’, Journal of Medical Ethics, 27: 98-103.

Brody, B.A. (1993) ‘Assessing empirical research in bioethics’, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 14: 211-19.

Callahan, D. (1996) ‘Ethics without abstraction: Squaring the circle’, Journal of Medical Ethics, 22: 69-71.

Callahan, D. (1999) ‘The social sciences and the task of bioethics’, Daedalus, 128(4): 275-294.

Dawson, J. (2006) ‘A messy business: qualitative research and ethical review’, Clinical Ethics, 1(2): 114-116.

de Vries, R. (2009) ‘Why can’t we all just get along? A comment on Turner’s plea to social scientists and bioethicists’, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 18: 43-46.

de Vries, R. and Gordijn, B. (2009) ‘Empirical ethics and its alleged meta-ethical fallacies’, Bioethics, 23(4): 193-201.

de Vries, R., Turner, L., Orfali, K. and Bosk, C. (2006) ‘Social science and bioethics: The way forward’, Sociology of Health and Illness, 28(6): 665-677.

Doris, J.M. and Stich, S.P. (2007) ‘As a matter of fact: Empirical perspectives on ethics’, in F. Jackson and M. Smith (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy. Oxford: OUP.

Draper, H. and Ives, J. (2007) ‘An empirical approach to bioethics: Social science ‘of’, ‘for’ and ‘in’ bioethics research’, Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, 11: 319-330.

Dunn, M.C., Gurtin-Broadbent, Z., Wheeler, J.R. and Ives, J. (2008) ‘Jack of all trades, master of none? Challenges facing junior academic researchers in bioethics’, Clinical Ethics, 3: 160-163.

Eastman, N. and Starling, B. (2006) ‘Mental disorder ethics: Theory and empirical investigation’, Journal of Medical Ethics, 32: 94-99.

Ebbesen, M. and Pedersen, B.D. (2007) ‘Using empirical research to formulate normative ethical principles’, Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 10: 33-48.

Finkler, K. (2008) ‘Can bioethics be global and local, or must it be both?’, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 37(2): 155-179.

Fox, R.C. and Swazey, J.P. (2005) ‘Examining American bioethics: Its problems and prospects’, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 14: 361-373.

Goldenberg, M.J. (2005) ‘Evidence-based ethics? On evidence-based practice and the “empirical turn” from normative bioethics’, BMC Medical Ethics.

Haimes, E. (2002) ‘What can the social sciences contribute to the study of ethics? Theoretical, empirical and substantive considerations’, Bioethics, 16(2): 89-113.
Haimes, E. and Williams, R. (2007) ‘Sociology, ethics, and the priority of the particular: Learning from a case study of genetic deliberations’, British Journal of Sociology, 58(3): 457-476.

Halpern, S.D. (2005) ‘Towards evidence based bioethics’, BMJ, 901-903.

Have, H.A.M.J. and Lelie, A. (1998) ‘Medical ethics research between theory and practice’,
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 19: 263-76.

Hedgecoe, A.M. (2004) ‘Critical bioethics: Beyond the social science critique of applied ethics’, Bioethics, 18(2): 120-43.

Hedgecoe, A.M. (2007) ‘Medical sociology and the redundancy of empirical ethics’, in R.E. Ashcroft et al (eds.) Principles of Health Care Ethics, 2nd edition. Chichester: Wiley.

Hoeyer, K (2006) ‘”Ethics wars”: Reflections on the antagonism between bioethicists and social science observers of biomedicine’, Human Studies, 29(2): 203-227.

Hoffmaster, B. and Hooker, C. (2009) ‘How experience confronts ethics’, Bioethics, 23(4): 214-225.

Holm, S. and Williams-Jones, B. (2006) ‘Global bioethics – myth or reality?’, BMC Medical Ethics.

Hope, T. (1999) ‘Empirical medical ethics’, JME, 25: 219-220.

Iltis, A.S. (2006) ‘Look who’s talking: The interdisciplinarity of bioethics and the implications for bioethics education’, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 31(6): 629-641.

Ives, J. (2008) ‘Encounters with experience: Empirical bioethics and the future’, Health Care Analysis, 16(1): 1-6.

Ives, J. and Draper, H. (2009) ‘Appropriate methodologies for empirical bioethics: It’s all relative’, Bioethics, 23(4): 249-258.

Jacoby, L.H. (2006) ‘For bioethics – The role of empirical research’, American Journal of Bioethics, 6(3): 58-59.

Kon, A.A. (2009) ‘The role of empirical research in bioethics’, American Journal of Bioethics, 9(6/7): 59-65. See also the following open peer commentaries:
·    Sugarman, J., Kass, N. and Faden, R. (2009) ‘Categorizing empirical research in bioethics: Why count the ways?’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 66-67.
·    Wynia, M.K. (2009) ‘Answering the ‘so what?’ question for empirical research in bioethics’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 68-69.
·    Holm, S. (2009) ‘Kon’s reinvention of the empirical bioethics wheel’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 69-70.
·    DuBois, J.M. (2009) ‘What counts as empirical research in bioethics and where do we find the stuff?’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 70-72.
·    Hoffmaster, B. and Hooker, C. (2009) ‘What empirical research can do for bioethics’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 72-74.
·    Shelton, W. (2009) ‘Empirical bioethics: Present and future possibilities’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 74-75.
·    Carter, S.M. (2009) ‘Beware dichotomies and grand abstractions: Attending to particularity and practice in empirical bioethics’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 76-77.
·    Aultman, J.M. (2009) ‘Conceptualizing disease: Unifying the divide between philosophical inquiry and empirical research’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 78-79.
·    Suhler, C. and Churchland, P. (2009) ‘Psychology and medical decision-making’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 79-81.
·    Viso, A.M. and Casado da Rocha, A. (2009) ‘An engine, not a pyramid’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 81-83.
·    Fry, C.L. (2009) ‘How to build a theory about empirical bioethics: Acknowledging the limitations of empirical research’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 83-85.
·    Kalichman, M. (2009) ‘Evidence-based research ethics’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 85-87.
·    Myser, C. (2009) ‘A view from the borderlands of philosophical bioethics and empirical social science research: How the ‘is’ can inform the ‘ought’’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 88-91.
·    Kirkwood, K. (2009) ‘Empiricism, values, and bioethics’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 91-92.
·    Dunn, M. and Ives, J. (2009) ‘Methodology, epistemology and empirical bioethics research: A constructive/ist commentary’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 93-95.
·    Schultz, D.S. (2009) ‘Hurrah for empirical bioethics (where hermeneutically clarified) or how perception of facts ‘depends’ on values’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 95-99.
·    Widdershoven, G., Molewijk, B. and Abma, T. (2009) ‘Improving care and ethics: A plea for interactive empirical ethics’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 99-101.
·    Emerson, C.I., Upshur, R.E.G. and Daar, A.S. (2009) ‘Empirical bioethics research in the developing world: When the ‘is’ is close to an ‘ought’, AJOB, 9(6/7): 101-103.
·    Kon, A.A. (2009) ‘Response to commentaries… It is settled: The ‘is’ can (and should) inform the ‘ought’!’, AJOB, 9(6/7): W4-W6.

Leget, C., Borry, P. and de Vries, R. (2009) ‘”Nobody tosses a dwarf!” The relation between the empirical and the normative reexamined’, Bioethics, 23(4): 226-235.

Lopez, J. (2004) ‘How sociology can save bioethics… maybe’, Sociology of Health and Illness, 26(7): 875-896.

Malterud, K. (2001) ‘Qualitative research: standards, challenges, and guidelines’, The Lancet, 358: 483-488.

Miller, F.G. and Wendler, D. (2006) ‘The relevance of empirical research in bioethics’, Schizophrenia Bulletin, 32(1): 37-41.

Molewijk, B. (2004) ‘Integrated empirical ethics: In search for clarifying identities’,
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 7: 85-87.

Molewijk, B. and Frith, L. (2009) ‘Editorial… Empirical ethics: Who is the Don Quixote?’, Bioethics, 23(4): ii-iv.

Molewijk, B., Stiggelbout A.M., Otten W., Dupuis H.M. & Kievit, J. (2003), ‘Implicit
normativity in evidence-based medicine: A plea for integrated empirical ethics research’,
Health Care Analysis, 11(1): 62-92.

Molewijk, B., Stiggelbout A.M., Otten W., Dupuis H.M. & Kievit, J. (2004) ‘Empirical data and moral theory: A plea for intergrated empirical ethics’, Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 7(1): 55-69.

Muller, J.H. (1994) ‘Anthropology, bioethics, and medicine: A provocative trilogy’, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 8(4): 448-467.

Musschenga, A.W. (1999) ‘Empirical science and ethical theory: The case of informed consent’, in A.W. Musschenga and W.J. van der Steen (eds.) Reasoning in Ethics and Law: The role of theory, principles and facts. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Musschenga, A.W. (2005) ‘Empirical ethics, context-sensitivity, and contextualism’, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 30(5): 467-490.

Nijsingh, N. and Duwell, M. (2009) ‘Interdisciplinarity, applied ethics and social science’, in P. Sollie and M. Duwell (eds.) Evaluating New Technologies. Springer.

Parker, Mike (2007) ‘Ethnography/Ethics’, Social Science and Medicine, 65: 2248-2259.

Parker, Malcolm (2009) ‘Two concepts of empirical ethics’, Bioethics, 23(4): 202-213.

Pearlman, R.A., Miles S.H. and Arnold, R.M. (1993) ‘Contributions of empirical research to medical ethics’, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 14: 197-210.

Putnam, H. (2002) The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy and Other Essays. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Reiter-Theil, S. (2004) ‘Does empirical research make bioethics more relevant? “The embedded researcher” as a methodological approach’, Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy, 7: 17-29.

Ritchie, B.F. and Kaplan, A. (1940) ‘A framework for an empirical ethics’, Philosophy of Science, 7(4): 476-91.

Smajdor, A., Ives, J., Baldock, E. and Langlois, A. (2008) ‘Getting from the ethical to the empirical and back again: The danger of getting it wrong, and the possibilities for getting it right’, Health Care Analysis, 16: 7-16.

Solbakk, J.H. (2004) ‘Use and abuse of empirical knowledge in contemporary bioethics: A critical analysis of empirical arguments in the controversy surrounding studies of maternal-fetal HIV-transmission and HIV-prevention in developing countries’, Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy, 7: 5-16.

Strech, D. (2008) ‘Evidence-based ethics: What it should be and what it shouldn’t’, BMC Medical Ethics.

Strech, D., Synofzik, M. and Marchmann, G. (2008) ‘Systematic reviews of empirical bioethics’, Journal of Medical Ethics, 34: 472-477.

Sugarman, J. (2004) ‘The future of empirical research in bioethics’, Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 32(2): 226-231.

Sugarman, J., Pearlman, R.A. and Taylor, H.A. (2007) ‘Empirical approaches to health care ethics’, in R.E. Ashcroft et al (eds.) Principles of Health Care Ethics, 2nd edition. Chichester: Wiley.

Sugarman, J. and Sulmasy D. (eds.) (2001) Methods in Medical Ethics. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Turner, L. (2009) ‘Anthropological and sociological critiques of bioethics’, Bioethical Inquiry, 6: 83-98.

Turner, L. (2009) ‘Bioethics and social studies of medicine: Overlapping concerns’, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 18: 36-42.

van Delden, J.J.M. (2002) ‘Moral intuitions as a source for empirical ethics’, Politeia, XVIII(67): 20-24.

van der Scheer, L., van Thiel, G., van Delden, J. and Widdershoven, G. (2004) ‘Theory and methodology of empirical-ethical research’, in S. Holm and M. Jonas (eds.) Engaging the World: The use of empirical research in bioethics and the regulation of biotechnology. IOS Press.

van der Scheer, L. and Widdershoven, G. (2004) ‘Integrated empirical ethics: loss of normativity?’ Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 7, 71-79.

Webster, A. (2006) ‘Social science ethics: The changing context for research’, Clinical Ethics, 1(1): 39-40.

Weisz, G. (ed.) (1989) Social Science Perspectives on Medical Ethics. Springer.

Widdershoven, G. (2007) ‘How to combine hermeneutics and wide reflective equilibrium’, Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 10: 49-52.

Widdershoven, G., Abma, T. and Molewijk, B. (2009) ‘Empirical ethics as dialogical practice’, Bioethics, 23(4): 236-248.

Widdershoven, G., McMillan, J., Hope, T. and van der Scheer, L. (2008) Empirical Ethics in Psychiatry. Oxford: OUP. Particularly Chapters 1-4, by Widdershoven et al, McMillan and Hope, Widdershoven and van der Scheer, and Borry et al, respectively.

Zussman, R. (1997) ‘Sociological perspectives on medical ethics and decision-making’,
Annual Review of Sociology, 23: 171-89.

Zussman, R. (2000) ‘The contributions of sociology to medical ethics’, Hastings Center
Report, 30(1): 7-11.


Empirical ethics  


empirical ethics  ethics  


  • Thank its look comprehensive i have nothing to say

  • normatsotsi Norma Tsotsi 21 Nov 2012

    Thanks this is useful. I cannot say it is comprehensive

  • tchantler Tracey Chantler 12 Oct 2011

    Thanks for compiling this list, it looks really comprehensive.

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