BMC Medical Ethics 9 (1):16- (2008)

Abstract
BackgroundThe concept of evidence-based medicine has strongly influenced the appraisal and application of empirical information in health care decision-making. One principal characteristic of this concept is the distinction between "evidence" in the sense of high-quality empirical information on the one hand and rather low-quality empirical information on the other hand. In the last 5 to 10 years an increasing number of articles published in international journals have made use of the term "evidence-based ethics", making a systematic analysis and explication of the term and its applicability in ethics important.DiscussionIn this article four descriptive and two normative characteristics of the general concept "evidence-based" are presented and explained systematically. These characteristics are to then serve as a framework for assessing the methodological and practical challenges of evidence-based ethics as a developing methodology. The superiority of evidence in contrast to other empirical information has several normative implications such as the legitimization of decisions in medicine and ethics. This implicit normativity poses ethical concerns if there is no formal consent on which sort of empirical information deserves the label "evidence" and which does not. In empirical ethics, which relies primarily on interview research and other methods from the social sciences, we still lack gold standards for assessing the quality of study designs and appraising their findings.ConclusionThe use of the term "evidence-based ethics" should be discouraged, unless there is enough consensus on how to differentiate between high- and low-quality information produced by empirical ethics. In the meantime, whenever empirical information plays a role, the process of ethical decision-making should make use of systematic reviews of empirical studies that involve a critical appraisal and comparative discussion of data
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1186/1472-6939-9-16
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 57,077
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

Principles of Biomedical Ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
Specifying, Balancing, and Interpreting Bioethical Principles.Henry S. Richardson - 2000 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 25 (3):285 – 307.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 16 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

No Testimonial Route to Consensus.Philip Pettit - 2006 - Episteme 3 (3):156-165.
Evidence and Ethics in Occupational Therapy.Justine Shaw & David Shaw - 2011 - British Journal of Occupational Therapy 74 (5):254-256.
The Virtues of Evidence.Erica Zarkovich & R. E. G. Upshur - 2002 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 23 (4-5):403-412.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-08-24

Total views
21 ( #492,196 of 2,411,496 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #149,499 of 2,411,496 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes