The theory and practice of biomedical ethics : a troubled divide

Biomedical ethics does not lend itself to easy categorisation as either a 'theoretical' or a 'practical' enterprise because inquiry into the quandaries of morality requires both situational and 'translocal' perspectives. These types of investigation bring into question the legitimacy of the theory/practice divide that has dominated intellectual thought since antiquity. This division hinders the development of bioethics by fostering internal dispute within the discipline regarding appropriate methodology and the practice of clinical ethics. In this thesis, I argue that much of these disciplinary disjunctions are due to an undue labeling of bioethics as either 'applied ethics' or 'practical ethics', and a failure to recognise the intricate way in which theory and practice inform each other and are integral and interrelated parts of moral deliberation. I argue for an integration of the theory and practice of bioethics.
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