Diversity of scholarship in medical ethics

Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (10):655-656 (2018)
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In their essay arguing for ethical review of social research, Sheehan et al write: > Inquiry and human life are intertwined and interdependent. To be human is to be curious, to ask questions about yourself, the world, and your place in the world. This process of inquiry is undertaken individually, but is a social activity.1 As researchers in medical ethics, all the authors in this issue have chosen to ask a particular type of question about the world: questions about ethical complexity and justification. Their inquiries are rich and diverse. We can see each as an individual piece of scholarship, contributing to our knowledge of a specific topic. But we can also see medical ethics as a social activity—one undertaken by a community of authors and readers, debating and reasoning together. What is striking when we think of medical ethics in this second way is the diversity of approaches to research that are useful in our discussions. Understanding ethics in healthcare is furthered by very different types of research, and this issue of the journal clearly illustrates this breadth of approaches to scholarship in medical ethics. The three articles on transplant ethics provide an excellent example of this diversity of scholarship in medical ethics. All explore ethical aspects of transplantation but using different approaches. Ladin and colleagues2 identify an ethical problem through empirical inquiry. Their research examines the requirement that a patient have adequate social support in …



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