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Ethically important moments – a pragmatic-dualist research ethics

A pragmatic-dualist research ethics

Abstract

This article analyses and discusses dilemmas, ambivalences and problematic issues related to research ethics. This is done firstly by making a distinction between procedural research ethics and particularistic research ethics. Such a distinction reflects a theoretical construction and generalization. In practice, there can be a very close correlation between the two types. In the following, the distinction will therefore be used as a starting point for the presentation of a pragmatic-dualist research ethics. The approach is dualist because it draws on the presence of two independent, contrasting understandings, which are essentially different yet equal aspects of good research ethics; it is pragmatic because this dualism is structural and institutional by nature, and designed with an eye to what can realistically and expediently be done in practice. Thus the intention of the article is to both analyze and discuss two different understandings of research ethics and simultaneously qualify a research ethics that draws on both of these understandings. Furthermore, the intention is to visualize a different understanding of research ethics which others can address and elaborate on or qualify. Even at this point, this research ethic can be included in a catalogue of understandings of ethical research practice an can be exploited in ethical research practice.

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Notes

  1. The title and the introductory framing draw on Niels Lehmann’s discussion of the concept of Bildung as a ‘pragmatic dualism’ between rationality and the criticism of rationality (Lehmann 2002: 257–275). The title “Ethically important moments” is indepted to Guillemin and Gillam 2004.

  2. The procedure is indebted to Strand and Slettebø 2012.

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Correspondence to Martin Blok Johansen.

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Johansen, M.B., Frederiksen, J.T. Ethically important moments – a pragmatic-dualist research ethics. J Acad Ethics 19, 279–289 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-020-09377-y

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Keywords

  • Research ethics
  • Procedural
  • Particularistic
  • Pragmatic-dualist