Article ID: CBB000932677

In the Search of Soul in Science: Medical Ethics' Appropriation of Philosophy of Science in the 1970s (2009)


This paper examines the deployment of science studies within the field of medical ethics. For a short time, the discourse of medical ethics became a fertile ground for a dialogue between philosophically minded bioethicists and the philosophers of science who responded to Thomas Kuhn's challenge. In their discussion of the validity of Kuhn's work, these bioethicists suggested a distinct interpretation of Kuhn, emphasizing the elements in his account that had been independently developed by Michael Polanyi, and propelling a view of science that retreated from idealizations of scientific method without sacrificing philosophical realism. Appropriating Polanyi, they extended his account of science to biology and medicine. The contribution of Karl Popper to the debate on the applicability of philosophy of science to the issues of medical ethics provides the opportunity to discuss the ways in which political agendas of different epistemologies of science intertwined with questions of concern to medical ethics.

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Authors & Contributors
Clarke, Steven William
Tinnerholm Ljungberg, Helena
Amato, Andrea
Wilson, Duncan
Williams, Clare
Weigand, Amy
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Perspectives on Science
Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science
European Journal for the History of Medicine and Health
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Social Studies of Science
Temple University
Kluwer Academic
Philosophy of science
Biology and ethics; bioethics
Medicine and ethics
Philosophers of science, modern
Science and ethics
Kuhn, Thomas S.
Popper, Karl Raimund
Polanyi, Michael
Feyerabend, Paul K.
Lakatos, Imre
Kennedy, Ian
Time Periods
20th century, late
20th century
20th century, early
21st century
United States
Great Britain
Superconducting Super Colider

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