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Ending LifeEthics and the Way We Die$
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Margaret Pabst Battin

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195140279.001.0001

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Empirical Research in Bioethics

Empirical Research in Bioethics

The Method of “Oppositional Collaboration”

(p.316) 16 Empirical Research in Bioethics
Ending Life

Margaret Pabst Battin

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with the author's personal experience in doing “empirical research” in bioethics. The year was 1988; the location, the Netherlands; the topic, the then newly emerging reality that, in a legal climate which tolerated these forms of hastening death, the Dutch were openly practicing physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. This “research” trip proved enormously informative. The method known as oppositional collaboration has the potential to contribute to the resolution of many of the more difficult issues in bioethics, and it would be a good thing if it were more widely used. Indeed, it should be the norm for the specific sorts of empirical research that go on in bioethics — not so much the research on physical sciences, social science, or medical science, but the distinctive kinds of empirical exploration that bioethicists often do.

Keywords:   bioethics, empirical research, Netherlands, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, oppositional collaboration

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