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Invited Commentary
May 2017

The Risk of Suicidality and Depression From 5-α Reductase Inhibitors

Author Affiliations
  • 1Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Puget Sound VA Medical Center, Seattle, Washington
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(5):691-692. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.0096

The Scottish philosopher David Hume observed a fundamental incompatibility between factual and moral propositions, known as Hume’s Law: that facts are not the basis for right and wrong, or, put another way, that “should” cannot be derived from “is.” Clinicians constantly face this problem, even if they are unconscious of it: striving do the morally right thing on the basis of factually right knowledge, yet depending ultimately on the patient’s and their own ideas of what is Good as a means to establish a goal. Scientific advances may thus complicate moral decision-making.

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