Can Ethics be Based on Science?

  • Bor Luen TangEmail author
Letter to the Editor

In his paper “Scientific ethics: A new approach”, Marcello Menapace proposed a “…a new ethics rooted in science”, which is, ambitiously, “an ethical framework based on scientific methods and rules” (Menapace 2018). However, contemplations on a connection between science and ethics, doctrines of both are indeed constructs of the human mind, are not new. The author’s treatment of the subject offers little on the science-ethics continuity debate. In fact, the author’s version of scientific ethics appears somewhat simplistic, and could have resulted from some degree of fallacious interpretation of how science is practiced or realistically operates.

There are several points of contention in the paper. For example, in providing a foundation for his arguments, Menapace states that “…since science cannot exist without humans, then it is clear that ethics will apply always, in every situation, to science”. Other than being unnecessarily anthropocentric, the first part of the statement could in...



  1. Menapace, M. (2018). Scientific ethics: A new approach. Science and Engineering Ethics. Scholar
  2. Pigliucci, M. (2003). On the relationship between science and ethics. Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, 38(4), 871–894. Scholar
  3. Popper, K. (1959). The logic of scientific discovery. London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and EngineeringSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Research Compliance and Integrity OfficeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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