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Evidence and ethics in medicine

Worrall, John (2008) Evidence and ethics in medicine. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 51 (3). pp. 418-431. ISSN 1529-8795

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Identification Number: 10.1353/pbm.0.0040


Ethics and epistemology in medicine are more closely and more interestingly intertwined than is usually recognized. To explore this relationship, I present a case study, clinical trials of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO; an intervention for persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn).Three separate ethical issues that arise from this case study-whether or not it is ethical to perform a certain trial at all, whether stopping rules for trials are ethically mandated, and the issue of informed consent-are all shown to be intimately related to epistemological judgments about the weight of evidence. Although ethical issues cannot, of course, be resolved by consideration of epistemological findings, I argue that no informed view of the ethical issues that are raised can be adopted without first taking an informed view of the evidential-epistemological ones.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 Johns Hopkins University Press
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2012 10:44
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2024 01:57

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