Talk:Evidence-based medical ethics

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"Sometimes this is also referred to as argument-based medical ethics.[3]"

This is not exactly correct, and also misleading, as probably most medical ethicists and of course philosophers would say that medical ethics is argument-based ("What else?"). McCullough et al. try to give methodic advice for critical appraisal of normative-ethical literature in medical ethics, and also explore the possibilites of systematic reviews in this field [see MCCULLOUGH LB, COVERDALE JH, CHERVENAK FA (2007) Constructing a Systematic Review for Argumentbased Clinical Ethics Literature: The Example of Concealed Medications. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 32:65-76], which is both close to the methodological approach of evidence-based medicine.

But nonetheless, it is not the same as combining evidence-based medicine and medical ethics, which is what the article suggests and what has been tried by researchers like Tyson et al (see e.g. TYSON JE (1995) Evidence-based ethics and the care of premature infants. Future Child 5(1):197-213; TYSON JE, STOLL BJ (2003) Evidence-based ethics and the care and outcome of extremely premature infants. Clinics in Perinatology 30:363-387; MAJOR-KINCADE TL, TYSON JE, KENNEDY KA (2001) Training Pediatric House Staff in Evidence-Based Ethics: An Exploratory Controlled Trial. Journal of Perinatology 21:161-166]. Apart from that, "evidence-based ethics" describes more a "stand-alone" approach that is either a) oriented to provide relevant empirical data (quantitative or qualitative) to concrete concerns of medical ethics by relying on a methodology similar to EBM [see e.g. STRECH D (2008) Evidence-based ethics – What it should be and what it shouldn’t. BMC Medical Ethics 9:16], or b) oriented to provide relevant normative-ethical arguments by a method that allows for critical appraisal of normative-ethical literature.

Generally spoken, the term "evidence-based ethics" is not used in the same way by the various researchers using it. The following articles, for example, do often address other issues by the term: JANSEN R (1997) Evidence-based ethics and the regulation of reproduction. Human Reproduction 12:2068-2075 KIM SYH (2004) Evidence-based Ethics for Neurology and Psychiatry Research. NeuroRx®: The Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics 1:372-377 HALPERN SD (2005) Towards evidence based bioethics. British Medical Journal 331:901-903 ANDERSON EE, DUBOIS JM (2007) The need for evidence-based research ethics: A review of the substance abuse literature. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 86:95-105

Further, "evidence-based ethics" is most often distinguished insufficiently from "empirical ethics", which is also discussed in bioethics and medical ethics [see e.g. HOPE T (1999) Empirical medical ethics. Editorial. Journal of Medical Ethics 25:219-200; MOLEWIJK B, STIGGELBOUT AM, OTTEN W, DUPUIS HM, KIEVIT J (2004) Empirical data and moral theory. A plea for integrated empirical ethics. Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy – A European Journal 7:55-69; MCMILLAN J, HOPE T (2008) „The possibility of empirical psychiatric ethics“. In: Widdershoven G, McMillan J, Hope T, Van der Scheer L (eds) Empirical ethics in psychiatry. Oxford University Press, New York; S. 9-22; KON AA (2009) The Role of Empirical Research in Bioethics. American Journal of Bioethics 9(6-7):59-65; LEGET C, BORRY P, DEVRIES R (2009) ‘Nobody tosses a dwarf!’ The relation between the empirical and the normative reexamined. Bioethics 23(4):226-235; PARKER M (2009) Two concepts of empirical ethics. Bioethics 23(4):202-213]. Sometimes, pleas for "evidence-based ethics" are the same as pleas for "empirical ethics", i.e. there is no or little difference in the issues addressed.

The article form Goldenberg (which seems to have been added here by herself) fails - in my opinion - at making valid points against esp. Tyson et al., as the "evidence-based ethics" she constructs seems to be more of a "strawman", a position that nobody really embraces (which does not mean that she fails in making some good general points regarding the relationship between empirical data and ethics). I personally doubt that she suffienctly grabbed the rationale behind evidence-based medicine, as well as its methodology;, and the same is true for what is suggested by evidence-based ethics (while, of course, it is conceded that there are better and worse concepts of this term).

As my english is not good enough to write articles in the english version of Wikipedia - and I do not see me as an author in Wikipedia, anyhow -, I hope that some authors will address and check the points I made above. But as evidence-based ethics and empirical ethics are part of my own research, I could not resist commenting this article and the shortcomings in the description as it stands.