Charting Moral Psychology’s Significance for Bioethics: Routes to Bioethical Progress, its Limits, and Lessons from Moral Philosophy

Main Article Content

Michael Klenk
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1483-0799

Abstract

Empirical moral psychology is sometimes dismissed as normatively insignificant because it plays no decisive role in settling ethical disputes. But that conclusion, even if it is valid for normative ethics, does not extend to bioethics. First, in contrast to normative ethics, bioethics can legitimately proceed from a presupposed moral framework. Within that framework, moral psychology can be shown to play four significant roles: it can improve bioethicists’ understanding of (1) the decision situation, (2) the origin and legitimacy of their moral concepts, (3) efficient options for implementing (legitimate) decisions, and (4) how to change and improve some parts of their moral framework. Second, metaethical considerations suggest that moral psychology may lead to the radical revision of entire moral frameworks and thus prompt the radical revision of entire moral frameworks in bioethics. However, I show that bioethics must either relinquish these radical implications of moral psychology and accept that there are limits to progress in bioethics based on moral psychology or establish an epistemic framework that guides radical revision.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
KLENK, M. Charting Moral Psychology’s Significance for Bioethics: Routes to Bioethical Progress, its Limits, and Lessons from Moral Philosophy. Diametros, v. 17, n. 64, p. 36-55, 30 Jun. 2020.
Section
Articles
Share |

References

Antiel R.M., Humeniuk K.M., Tilburt J.C. (2014), "Spanning our Differences: Moral Psychology, Physician Beliefs, and the Practice of Medicine," Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 9 (1): 1–7.


DOI

Arras J.D. (1991), "Getting Down to Cases: The Revival of Casuistry in Bioethics," The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16 (1): 29–51.


DOI

Baker R. (2002), "From Metaethicist to Bioethicist," Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 11 (4): 369–379.


DOI

Beauchamp T.L., Childress J.F. (2013), Principles of Biomedical Ethics, Oxford University Press, New York.

Beauchamp T.L., Rauprich O. (2016), "Principlism," [in:] Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics, H. ten Have (ed.), Springer, Berlin: 2282–2293.

Berker S. (2009), "The Normative Insignificance of Neuroscience," Philosophy & Public Affairs 37 (4): 293–329.


DOI

Beschorner T. (2006), "Ethical Theory and Business Practices: The Case of Discourse Ethics," Journal of Business Ethics 66 (1): 127–139.


DOI

Bloom P. (2004), Descartes' Baby: How the Science of Child Development Explains what Makes us Human, Basic Books, New York.

Borry P., Schotsmans P., Dierickx K. (2005), "The Birth of the Empirical Turn in Bioethics," Bioethics 19 (1): 49–71.


DOI

Brandt R.B. (1944), "The Significance of Differences of Ethical Opinion For Ethical Rationalism," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 4 (4): 469–495.


DOI

Brinchmann B.S., Nortvedt P. (2001), "Ethical Decision Making in Neonatal Units: The Normative Significance of Vitality," Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 4 (2): 193–200.


DOI

Buchanan A., Powell R. (2015), "The Limits of Evolutionary Explanations of Morality and Their Implications for Moral Progress," Ethics 126 (1): 37–67.


DOI

Callahan D. (1973), "Bioethics as a Discipline," The Hastings Center Studies 1 (1): 66–73.


DOI

Campbell R., Kumar V. (2012), "Moral Reasoning on the Ground," Ethics 122 (2): 273–312.


DOI

Chase S.B. (ed.) (1968), Problems in Public Expenditure Analysis, Brookings Institution, Washington, DC.

Childress J.F. (2007), "Methods in Bioethics," [in:] The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics, B. Steinbock (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford: 15–45.

Clarke S., Savulescu J., Coady C.A.J., Giubilini A., Sanyal S. (eds.) (2016), The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate, Oxford University Press, Oxford.


DOI

Clipsham P. (2014), "Does Empirical Moral Psychology Rest on a Mistake?," Philosophical Studies 170 (2): 215–233.


DOI

Clouser K.D., Gert B. (1990), "A Critique of Principlism," The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 15 (2): 219–236.


DOI

Cohen G.A. (2003), "Facts and Principles," Philosophy & Public Affairs 31 (3): 211–245.


DOI

Curry O.S. (2016), "Morality as Cooperation: A Problem-Centred Approach," [in:] The Evolution of Morality, T.K. Shackelford, R.D. Hansen (eds.), Springer, Dordrecht: 27–51.

Doris J.M., Stich S., Philips J. et al. (2020), "Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches," [in:] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2020 Edition), E.E. Zalta (ed.), URL = https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-psych-emp/ [Accessed 29.06.2020].

Dörries A. (2009), "The 4-Step Approach: Ethics Case Discussion in Hospitals," Diametros 22: 39–46.

Draper H. (2019), "Activism, Bioethics and Academic Research," Bioethics 33 (8): 861–871.


DOI

Draper H., Moorlock G., Rogers W. et al. (2019), "Bioethics and Activism," Bioethics 33 (8): 853–856.


DOI

Duke G., Thompson S. (2007), "Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Nursing Personnel Regarding Advance Directives," International Journal of Palliative Nursing 13 (3): 109–115.


DOI

Düwell M. (2013), Bioethics: Methods, Theories, Domains, Routledge, London.


DOI

Ebbesen M., Pedersen B.D. (2007), "Using Empirical Research to Formulate Normative Ethical Principles in Biomedicine," Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (1): 33–48.


DOI

Frodeman R., Briggle A. (2016), Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of Twenty-First-Century Philosophy, Rowman & Littlefield, London, Lanham, Maryland.

Frodeman R., Briggle A., Holbrook J.B. (2012), "Philosophy in the Age of Neoliberalism," Social Epistemology 26 (3–4): 311–330.


DOI

Frodeman R., Klein J.T., Mitcham C. (eds.) (2010), The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity (1. ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Greene J.D. (2008), "The Secret Joke of Kant's Soul," [in:] Moral Psychology Vol. 3: The Neuroscience of Morality: Emotion, Disease, and Development, W. Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), MIT Press, Cambridge, MA: 35–79.

Greene J.D. (2014), "Beyond Point-and-Shoot Morality: Why Cognitive (Neuro)Science Matters for Ethics," Ethics 124 (4): 695–726.


DOI

Greene J.D., Sommerville R.B., Nystrom L.E. et al. (2001), "An fMRI Investigation of Emotional Engagement in Moral Judgment," Science 293 (5537): 2105–2108.


DOI

Haidt J. (2001), "The Emotional Dog and Its Rational Tail: A Social Intuitionist Approach to Moral Judgment," Psychological Review 108 (4): 814–834.


DOI

Harman G. (1977), The Nature of Morality: An Introduction to Ethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Herrera C. (2008), "Is it Time for Bioethics to go Empirical?," Bioethics 22 (3): 137–146.


DOI

Horgan T., Timmons M. (eds.) (2006), Metaethics after Moore, Oxford University Press, Oxford.


DOI

Hopster J. (2018), "Evolutionary Arguments Against Moral Realism: Why the Empirical Details Matter (and which Ones do)," Biology & Philosophy 33 (41).


DOI

Ives J., Draper H. (2009), "Appropriate Methodologies for Empirical Bioethics: It's all Relative," Bioethics 23 (4): 249–258.


DOI

Jenni K.E., Loewenstein G. (1997), "Explaining the 'Identifiable Victim Effect'," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 14 (3): 235–257.


DOI

Jonsen A.R. (2003), The Birth of Bioethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Jonsen A.R., Toulmin S.E. (2012), The Abuse of Casuistry: A History of Moral Reasoning, University of California Press, Brekeley.

Joyce R. (2016a), "Evolution, Truth-Tracking, and Moral Scepticism," [in:] R. Joyce, Essays in Moral Skepticism, Oxford University Press, Oxford: 142–158.


DOI

Joyce R. (2016b), Essays in Moral Skepticism, Oxford University Press, Oxford.


DOI

Kahane G. (2011), "Evolutionary Debunking Arguments," Noûs 45 (1): 103–125.


DOI

Kass L.R. (1997), "The Wisdom of Repugnance," The New Republic, June 2: 17–26.

Kay M., Matuszek C., Munson S.A. (2015), "Unequal Representation and Gender Stereotypes in Image Search Results for Occupations," [in:] CHI '15: Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, B. Begole, J. Kim, K. Inkpen et al. (eds.), The Association for Computing Machinery, New York: 3819–3828.

Keane W. (2016), Ethical Life: Its Natural and Social Histories, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.


DOI

Kelly D. (2011), Yuck!: The Nature and Moral Significance of Disgust, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.


DOI

Klenk M. (2018), Survival of Defeat: Evolution, Moral Objectivity, and Undercutting, Quaestiones Infinitae, Utrecht.

Klenk M. (2019a), "Objectivist Conditions for Defeat and Evolutionary Debunking Arguments," Ratio 32 (4): 246–259.


DOI

Klenk M. (2019b), "The Influence of Situational Factors in Sacrificial Dilemmas on Utilitarian Moral Judgments," SSRN Electronic Journal, URL = https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3501289 [Accessed 25.06.2020].


DOI

Klenk M. (2020a), "Change in Moral View: Higher-Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology," [in:] Higher-Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology, M. Klenk (ed.), Routledge, New York: 1–27.


DOI

Klenk M. (2020b), "Third Factor Explanations and Disagreement in Metaethics," Synthese 197 (1): 427–446.


DOI

Klenk M. (ed.) (2020c), Higher-Order Evidence and Moral Epistemology, Routledge, New York.


DOI

Kon A.A. (2009), "The Role of Empirical Research in Bioethics," The American Journal of Bioethics 9 (6–7): 59–65.


DOI

Leiter B. (2004a), "The Hermeneutics of Suspicion: Recovering Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud," [in:] The Future for Philosophy, B. Leiter (ed.), Clarendon Press, Oxford: 74–105.

Leiter B. (ed.) (2004b), The Future of Philosophy, Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Lindauer M. (2019), "Experimental Philosophy and the Fruitfulness of Normative Concepts," Philosophical Studies, Published 08 May 2019, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-019-01302-3.


DOI

Lindemann H. (2019), "Bioethicists to the Barricades!," Bioethics 33 (8): 857–860.


DOI

May J. (2016a), "Emotional Reactions to Human Reproductive Cloning," Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (1): 26–30.


DOI

May J. (2016b), "Repugnance as Performance Error: The Role of Disgust in Bioethical Intuitions," [in:] S. Clarke, J. Savulescu, C.A.J. Coady et al. (eds.), The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate, Oxford University Press, Oxford: 43–57.


DOI

Musschenga A.W. (2005), "Empirical Ethics, Context-Sensitivity, and Contextualism," The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (5): 467–490.


DOI

Paulo N. (2019), "In Search of Greene's Argument," Utilitas 31 (1): 38–58.


DOI

Prinz J.J. (2007), The Emotional Construction of Morals, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Ruse M., Wilson E.O. (1986), "Moral Philosophy as Applied Science," Philosophy 61 (236): 173–192.


DOI

Schelling T.C. (1968), "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," [in:] Problems in Public Expenditure Analysis, S.B. Chase (ed.), Brookings Institution, Washington, DC: 127–167.

Shackelford T.K., Hansen R.D. (eds.) (2016), The Evolution of Morality, Springer, Dordrecht.


DOI

Shafer-Landau R. (ed.) (2018), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume 13, Oxford University Press, Oxford.


DOI

Sinclair N. (2018), "Belief-Pills and the Possibility of Moral Epistemology," [in:] Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13, R. Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford: 1–41.

Singer P.A., Viens A.M. (2008), The Cambridge Textbook of Bioethics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.


DOI

Sinnott-Armstrong W. (2006), "Moral Intuitionism Meets Empirical Psychology," [in:] Metaethics after Moore, T. Horgan, M. Timmons (eds.), Oxford University Press, Oxford: 340–366.

Sinnott-Armstrong W. (ed.) (2008), Moral Psychology: The Neuroscience of Morality: Emotion, Brain Disorders, and Development (vol. 3), MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.


DOI

Steinbock B. (ed.) (2007), The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

van Thiel G.J.M.W., van Delden J.J.M. (1997), "Dealing with Patient Autonomy in Dutch Nursing Homes," Health Care in Later Life 3: 177–186.

Veatch R.M. (1981), A Theory of Medical Ethics, Basic Books, New York.


DOI

Vries R. de, Gordijn B. (2009), "Empirical Ethics and its Alleged Meta-Ethical Fallacies," Bioethics 23 (4): 193–201.


DOI

Wielenberg E.J. (2016), "Ethics and Evolutionary Theory," Analysis 76 (4): 502–515.


DOI

Wocial L.D. (2010), "Nurturing the Moral Imagination: A Reflection on Bioethics Education for Nurses," Diametros 25: 92–102.

Żuradzki T. (2019), "The Normative Significance of Identifiability," Ethics and Information Technology 21 (4): 295-305.


DOI

Żuradzki T. (2015), "The Preference Toward Identified Victims and Rescue Duties," The American Journal of Bioethics 15 (2): 25–27.


DOI