Philosophical and foundationalist approaches have dominated bioethics. Recently, empirical bioethics has been developing to provide relevant knowledge to better understand the complexities of real-life ethical dilemmas. If we frame bioethics as an interdisciplinary activity then we have to integrate empirical social scientific analysis with ethical analysis to draw valuable normative conclusions. The importance of an interdisciplinary approach for the further development of bioethics in the coming decades is indisputable.
Traditionally normative and empirical perspectives have been developed separately from one another and are at different stages of development. There is a broad acceptance that a bioethics that is dominated by a unilateral approach is ill-suited to engage with complex ethical dilemmas. However, there is a lack of knowledge as to when and how such an integration of the normative and empirical should be done.
Since we do need a multifaceted approach to engage with complex bioethical dilemmas, the aim of the proposed project is (1) to address the challenge of developing methodologies that help frame the process of combining empirical research with normative analysis and, at the same time, (2) to critically reflect on the limits of this integration process. As such, the proposed project has the potential to contribute to the developing new field of interdisciplinary bioethics, which is becoming predominant in the European research context.