Knowledge, authority and identity: A prolegomenon to an epistemology of the clinic

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 22 (2):107-122 (2001)
Disputes about theory in bioethics almost invariablyrevolve around different understandings of morality or practicalreasoning; I here suggest that the field would do well to becomemore explicitly contentious about knowledge, and start the taskof putting together a clinical epistemology. By way of providingsome motivation for such a discussion, I consider two cases ofresistance to shifts in clinical practice that are, by and large,not ethically controversial, highlighting how differentconceptions of epistemic authority may contribute to clinicians'unwillingness to adopt these changes, and sketching out someinitial suggestions for epistemic analysis of clinical practice.
Keywords bioethics  epistemic authority  epistemology  natural childbirth  SUPPORT
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