For example. On the methodological status of case studies in applied ethics

Ethik in der Medizin 20 (1):40-52 (2008)

Bert Heinrichs
Universität Bonn
Definition of the problem Case studies, both with a view to didactical and argumentative purposes, are widely used in applied ethics. However, case studies are often used without methodological considerations concerning the premises and limi- tations of these kind of studies as methodologi- cal tools within ethics. Conclusion The present paper critically examines the recourse to – real or fictitious – case studies. Important suggesti- ons will be taken from Kant’s philosophy. Kant himself occasionally uses case studies in his ethical writings. Yet, he also discusses the relevance as well as the limitations of case studies in ethics. Arguments Against the background of this analysis, the opinion that ethics can be taught or developed in concreto, or that ethics might eventually be resolved into compilations of case studies must be rejected.
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