Clinical Ethics 3 (4):185-188 (2008)

Alex Broadbent
University of Johannesburg
This paper argues that bioethics requires analysis, which is not explicitly ethical in character. The first part of the paper argues the general point, that ethical problems can arise not only on occasions when moral values make conflicting recommendations, but also in understanding the facts. I suggest that this is particularly so where the facts are provided by the biomedical sciences, since it is often not clear how to relate their conceptual framework to that in which we frame our value judgements. In the second part, I illustrate the argument by criticizing the moral conclusions drawn by the authors of a recent widely publicized study of paediatric obesity. There is a failure to translate properly these results into the language we use for moral evaluation. The case therefore illustrates exactly the analytic gap which I suggest bioethics might do more to fill
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DOI 10.1258/ce.2008.008031
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