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Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Hardman, D., 2019. Complementary and Alternative Medicine. In: International Encyclopedia of Ethics. John Wiley & Sons.

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DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee876


Although a number of people advocate and use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), serious thinkers have doubts about its efficacy and the morality of its use. CAM is, in any case, difficult to define since many people use the term to refer to a diverse group of healthcare practices. This entry considers the ethical justification of CAM through a balanced assessment of the four principles of modern bioethics: autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. As with conventional medicine, informed ethical debates in CAM are intrinsically linked to evidential‐epistemological issues. Some claim that CAM practices do not meet the standards of evidence‐based medicine and, thus, that their use is unethical. Others claim the principles of evidence‐based medicine are misguided. This dispute is best evaluated in a broader debate about the appropriate evidential standards for the use of all healthcare practices. Inasmuch as this is true, a careful investigation of ethical issues concerning CAM can inform other ethical and evidential debates about conventional medicine.

Item Type:Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords:alternative medicine; beneficence; bioethics; complementary medicine; evidence‐based medicine; justice; medical ethics; nonmaleficence; patient autonomy
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:33108
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:11 Dec 2019 16:06
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:18


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