Mapping the Language of Research Biobanking: An Analogical Approach

  • Bjørn Hofmann
  • Jan Helge Solbakk
  • Søren Holm


New medical technologies provide us with new possibilities in health care and health care research. Depending on their degree of novelty, they may as well present us with a whole range of unforeseen normative challenges. Partly, this is due to a lack of appropriate norms to perceive and handle new technologies. This chapter investigates our ways of establishing such norms. We argue that in this respect analogies have at least two normative functions: they inform both our understanding and our conduct. Furthermore, as these functions are intertwined and can blur moral debates, a functional investigation of analogies can be a fruitful part of ethical analysis. We argue that although analogies can be conservative, they are nevertheless useful because they bring old concepts to bear upon new ones. We also argue that there are at least three ways in which analogies can be used in a creative manner. First, understandings of new technologies are quite different from the analogies that established them, and come to be analogies themselves. That is, the concepts may turn out to be quite different from the analogies that established them. Second, analogies transpose similarities from one area into another, where they previously had no bearing. Third, analogies tend to have a figurative function, bringing in something new and different from the content of the analogies.


Biological Material Umbilical Cord Blood Moral Normativity Analogical Reasoning Moral Debate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bjørn Hofmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jan Helge Solbakk
  • Søren Holm
  1. 1.Section for Radiography and Health Technology, Department of Health, Care and NursingUniversity College of GjøvikGjøvikNorway
  2. 2.Section for Medical Ethics, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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