What moral and ethical considerations should inform bioarchaeology of care analysis?

Author(s): David Doat

Year: 2015


The aim of this presentation is to submit for discussion a proposition of an 'orientation map in Ethics' which may be useful for scholars engaged in Bioarchaeology of care. To this end, I present as a first step the main objections that have been raised in the literature to any attempt of inferring care toward disabled persons in prehistory. I suggest that most of these objections comes from two different ethical backgrounds: a number of them are motivated by the defense of a set of values which are required by the epistemology and methodology of any scientific research, while others relate to the interpretations of the moral signification of the contents and outcomes of a bioarchaeology of care analysis. Such objections rely on another normative field, that of both scholar's philosophical and moral valuations. In relation to this short classification, I state then, on the one hand, that a bioarchaeology of care methodology is an adequate answer to any objector who fears that ethics of scientific research may not be honoured in the field. On the other hand, I explain why a moral position which differs from ethical relativism in the anthropological literature can contribute to progress in the field.

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What moral and ethical considerations should inform bioarchaeology of care analysis?. David Doat. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395741)