Empirical Ethics in Psychiatry

Empirical Ethics in Psychiatry

by Guy Widdershoven
     
 

Psychiatry presents a unique array of difficult ethical questions. However, a major challenge is to approach psychiatry in a way that does justice to the real ethical issues. Recently there has been a growing body of research in empirical psychiatric ethics, and an increased interest in how empirical and philosophical methods can be combined. Empirical Ethics in

Overview

Psychiatry presents a unique array of difficult ethical questions. However, a major challenge is to approach psychiatry in a way that does justice to the real ethical issues. Recently there has been a growing body of research in empirical psychiatric ethics, and an increased interest in how empirical and philosophical methods can be combined. Empirical Ethics in Psychiatry demonstrates how ethics can engage more closely with the reality of psychiatric practice and shows how empirical methodologies from the social sciences can help foster this link.

The book is divided into two sections. In the first section there are discussions of the possibility of empirical ethics from a theoretical standpoint and an overview of the history of empirical medical ethics in general. The second, larger section is made up of chapters, discussing a specific research project in empirical psychiatric ethics. The contributors reflect on their choice of method: how and why they combine empirical and philosophical work, and how the two approaches relate to each other. The chapters in the second part thus have two purposes. The first is to present examples of empirical ethics in psychiatry; the second is to reflect on the way in which empirical research can support ethical analysis.

Empirical Ethics in Psychiatry is a unique contribution to the field of bioethics and will be fascinating reading for all those working within bioethics, as well as mental health care professionals.

Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Erica Rangel, BA (Saint Louis University)
Description: The editors present the possibility of a marriage between empirical methods and ethical theory and apply this model to the practice of psychiatry. Beginning with a theoretical analysis of empirical medical ethics, the book reviews a brief history of empirical ethics and presents two different traditions from which an empirical approach can be defended. Moving from this theoretical examination, various authors offer examples of empirical ethics in psychiatry and reflect on the way in which empirical research may contribute to normative medical ethics.
Purpose: The purpose is to defend and illustrate the application of empirical methods to the work of normative ethics, particularly in the field of psychiatry. The editors offer several illustrations of empirical psychiatric ethics, demonstrating how and why empirical and philosophical work can be combined and how one relates to another.
Audience: The book is written for bioethicists and mental health professionals, although it is likely to challenge those unfamiliar with the project of using social scientific methods and data to enrich normative discussion.
Features: The first part of the book offers a theoretical foundation for empirical ethics and the second provides current examples of how psychiatric research might be applied to psychiatric ethics. However, the contributing authors in this second part also draw on theory to buttress and illuminate their particular methodological choices, presenting an assortment of potential approaches to empirical ethics. These chapters address issues ranging from dementia to advance directives to care of Prader-Willi patients. Chapter seven in particular presents a clear and comprehensive argument for applying empirical methods to the practice of dementia care, relying on the theoretical perspective of American philosopher Margaret Walker and the idea of moral responsibility.
Assessment: With its discussion of empirical ethics in the context of psychiatry, this book addresses a gap in the literature on mental health and bioethics. While the theoretical analysis is brief and perhaps not comprehensive enough for a thorough understanding of the relationship between empirical research and normative assertion, it does give a sufficient introduction to the subject. As the interdisciplinary field of bioethics evolves and advances, it is books like this that will encourage professionals to take a thoughtful look at collaborating with seemingly disparate disciplines.
From the Publisher
"As the interdisciplinary field of bioethics evolves and advances, it is books like this that will encourage professionals to take a thoughtful look at collaborating with seemingly disparate disciplines."—Doody's

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199297368
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
04/15/2008
Series:
International Perspectives in Philosophy and Psychiatry Series
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Guy Widdershoven is Professor of Ethics of Health Care and Scientific Director of the School for Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI), Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands. His research subject is hermeneutic ethics, especially in the area of chronic care (elderly care, psychiatry and care for people with an intellectual disability). He is one of the editors with Richard Ashcroft, Anneke Lucassen, Michael Parker, and Marian Verkerk of Case Analysis in Clinical Ethics, Cambridge University Press 2005
Tony Hope is Professor of Medical Ethics at the Ethox Centre in the University of Oxford, and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist. He has carried out research in basic neuroscience and Alzheimer's Disease. Since 1990 he has focused on clinical ethics. His books include: the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine (editions 1-4); Manage Your Mind; Medical Ethics and Law: the Core Curriculum; and Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction.
John McMillan is Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics at the Hull York Medical School and the Philosophy Department, University of Hull. He is a deputy director of the Institute of Applied Ethics, University of Hull. His publications include articles and book chapters on the philosophy of psychiatry and Bioethics. He is co-editor of: The Principles of Healthcare Ethics (with Richard Ashcroft, Angus Dawson and Heather Draper) (2007). He is co-author of Consciousness and Intentionality (with Grant Gillett 2001).
Lieke van der Scheer studied philosophy and wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on Unregulated Morality: Dewey's Concept of Experience as a Basis for Health Ethics (in Dutch). Her publications concern the methodology and the theory of empirical ethical research as well as the ethical aspect of care practice. Besides teaching ethics at the Faculty Health, Medicine & Life Sciences of the University of Maastricht (The Netherlands), she also teaches and trains professionals in the care sector. She is a member of various Institutional Review Boards in charge of ethically testing medical research with human subjects.

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