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What are considered ‘good facts’?
  1. Akira Akabayashi1,2,
  2. Eisuke Nakazawa1,
  3. Nancy S Jecker3,4
  1. 1 Biomedical Ethics, University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
  2. 2 Medical Ethics, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA
  3. 3 Department of Bioethics & Humanities, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  4. 4 African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Professor Akira Akabayashi, Biomedical Ethics, University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan; akirasan-tky{at}


In the January edition of the Journal of Medical Ethics, Fujita and Tabuchi (hereafter, Authors) responded that we misunderstood the ‘facts’ in our previous article. Our article’s method was twofold. First, it appealed to normative analysis and publicly accessible materials, and second, it targeted a policy-making approach to public funding. We specifically did not focus on the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application or induced pluripotent stem stock projects. The Authors raised five criticisms, including transparency of our interpretation of public funding policy. We reply to these criticisms by clarifying facts, and demonstrating new data (facts), and asking the Authors what qualifies as a ‘good fact’ in medical ethics. We note that in some cases, it might be possible to examine to what extent facts are ‘true’, while in other cases, ‘facts’ are laden with ‘values’, which cannot be confirmed or falsified with observation alone. The level of ‘good’ implicit in a fact is a challenging issue that goes well beyond science and makes metaethical assumptions about the relationships between facts and values more broadly.

  • political philosophy
  • public policy
  • resource allocation
  • stem cell research
  • research ethics

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  • Contributors AA: conceptualisation, writing original draft, review and editing. EN: conceptualisation, formal analysis, writing review and editing. NSJ: conceptualisation, writing review and editing.

  • Funding The Hitachi Global Foundation, the Kurata Grant, No. 1373.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine Ethics Committee Office judged that this study does not need committee’s approval because it does not use human materials.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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