Social moral epistemology and the role of bioethicists

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


As a species of practical ethics, bioethics aims not just at achieving a better understanding of ethical problems, but at understanding ethical problems in ways that contribute to morally better actions and policies. Given that the ultimate aim of bioethics is practical, those who claim the title of bioethicist ought to think hard about whether the modes of understanding they characteristically employ are adequate to the practical task. In this chapter I argue that the conventional methodologies bioethicists employ are deficient from the standpoint of the practical aim of bioethics, because they do not incorporate what I have elsewhere labeled social moral epistemology. I also want to argue that social moral epistemology is a valuable tool for self-examination by bioethicists-and that bioethicists have a responsibility to apply social moral epistemological analysis not just to the problems they characteristically grapple with, but also to themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Ethics of Bioethics
Subtitle of host publicationMapping the Moral Landscape
PublisherThe Johns Hopkins University Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780801886126
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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