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Psychiatric ethics and the methodological virtues of bioethics
  1. John R McMillan
  1. Correspondence to Dr John R McMillan, School of Medicine, Flinders University, Adelaide 5100, South Australia; john.mcmillan{at}flinders.edu.au

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Eighteen years ago, Fulford and Hope described psychiatric ethics as a bioethical ugly duckling: an area that attracted much less attention than high-profile issues such as the end of life, genetics and reproductive technologies.1 They were optimistic that this ethically rich and complex area might one day demonstrate how bioethics can mature and progress.

Since that time, a number of influential books have appeared, journals such as JME regularly publish articles on psychiatric ethics, and it would be possible to list a number of scholars who have made significant contributions to this area. While psychiatric ethics and bioethics have matured, there are still methodological debates and a need for examples of how we can do bioethics well. The article in this issue ‘Threats and offers in community healthcare’2 is an exemplar of how we can research and write about psychiatric ethics in a way that is not only rigorous from a scholarly point of view, but also genuinely …

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