Empirical ethics as dialogical practice

Bioethics 23 (4):236-248 (2009)
In this article, we present a dialogical approach to empirical ethics, based upon hermeneutic ethics and responsive evaluation. Hermeneutic ethics regards experience as the concrete source of moral wisdom. In order to gain a good understanding of moral issues, concrete detailed experiences and perspectives need to be exchanged. Within hermeneutic ethics dialogue is seen as a vehicle for moral learning and developing normative conclusions. Dialogue stands for a specific view on moral epistemology and methodological criteria for moral inquiry. Responsive evaluation involves a structured way of setting up dialogical learning processes, by eliciting stories of participants, exchanging experiences in (homogeneous and heterogeneous) groups and drawing normative conclusions for practice. By combining these traditions we develop both a theoretical and a practical approach to empirical ethics, in which ethical issues are addressed and shaped together with stakeholders in practice. Stakeholders' experiences are not only used as a source for reflection by the ethicist; stakeholders are involved in the process of reflection and analysis, which takes place in a dialogue between participants in practice, facilitated by the ethicist. This dialogical approach to empirical ethics may give rise to questions such as: What contribution does the ethicist make? What role does ethical theory play? What is the relationship between empirical research and ethical theory in the dialogical process? In this article, these questions will be addressed by reflecting upon a project in empirical ethics that was set up in a dialogical way. The aim of this project was to develop and implement normative guidelines with and within practice, in order to improve the practice concerning coercion and compulsion in psychiatry.
Keywords psychiatry  coercion  empirical ethics  hermeneutic ethics  responsive evaluation
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01712.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Stella Reiter-Theil (2012). What Does Empirical Research Contribute to Medical Ethics? Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 21 (04):425-435.

View all 20 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

33 ( #97,829 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.