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Translational ethics? The theory–practice gap in medical ethics
  1. Alan Cribb
  1. Correspondence to Alan Cribb, Centre for Public Policy, King's College London, Franklin-Wilkins Building WBW, Waterloo Road, London SE1 9NN, UK; alan.cribb{at}


Translational research is now a critically important current in academic medicine. Researchers in all health-related fields are being encouraged not only to demonstrate the potential benefits of their research but also to help identify the steps through which their research might be ‘made practical’. This paper considers the prospects of a corresponding movement of ‘translational ethics’. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of focusing upon the translation of ethical scholarship are reviewed. While emphasising the difficulties of crossing the gap between scholarship and practice, the paper concludes that a debate about the business of translation would be useful for medical ethics.

  • Applied ethics
  • ideal theory
  • philosophical ethics
  • translation

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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