Revista Latinoamericana de Bioética
Print version ISSN 1657-4702
KOTTOW, Miguel. EMPIRICAL BIOETHICS, A CRITICAL VIEW. rev.latinoam.bioet. [online]. 2009, vol.9, n.1, pp. 64-69. ISSN 1657-4702.
For some years has been developing an academic initiative that it suggests to leave Bioethical principlialism and fundamentalisms, to incorporate to social sciences like an epistemological way in the formulation of bioethical normative. In a critical analysis of this proposal, it is verified that the strict principlialism already have been criticized and in great average left, without needing resorting to the empirical investigation. The frequent critic that an empirical epistemology would not allow to deduce injunctive conclusions when falling in the naturalistic fallacy has lost the force since it was demonstrated that between the collection of facts and the formulation of values does not exist an insurmountable breach, but are other objections to explain. The empirical bioethics obtains results of the preferably qualitative investigation focused in observation and survey of small cohorts of people. Even the studied universe is not much representative, is too contextual and is varied to assure the internal validation of the studies. For these reasons, the external validation or extrapolation does not allow generalizations that take to formulate norms. The intention to privilege an inductive method to structure the bioethics theory is against to the traditional reflective and deliberative task of the ethics, that it looks for to argue towards and not from the practical situations, without unknown the cultural impact in the formulation of ethical rules, as it displays the ethical naturalism. The empirical investigations can be useful to recognize breaches between theory and practice, and to analyze missing in the application of recognized and established bioethics norms, as it is the procedure of the informed consent. Nevertheless, these results have to serve to correct the practices and not, to modify the theory as some empirical people propose.
Keywords : Bioethics; empirism; ethical naturalism; principlialism.