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17. Bioethics, Genethics and Medical Ethics


Subject Philosophy » Ethics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631219088.2002.00022.x


There is often much confusion about what the methodology of bioethics is. Bioethics is characterized as a multidisciplinary mode of enquiry. Health care professionals, life scientists, philosophers, theologians, lawyers, economists, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists and historians are among those who are typically involved in bioethical enquiry. However, while a wide range of disciplines are actively involved in bioethics, the central method of bioethics is moral philosophical enquiry. Bioethics, rather than being a multidisciplinary mode of enquiry, is a branch of A pplied ethics (chapter 16) , which is characteristically informed by multidisciplinary expertise and findings. As Ronald Green puts it: ‘while ethics and moral philosophy may sometimes represent a relatively small part of the actual work of bioethics, they form in a sense the confluence to which all the larger and smaller tributaries lead, and, more than any other single approach, the methods of ethics and philosophy remain indispensable to this domain of inquiry’ ( Green 1990 : 182). Applied ethics involves the application of the principles and methods of moral philosophy to practical problems. Bioethics, a branch of applied ethics, applies these principles and methods of moral philosophy to issues arising in the life sciences. Within bioethics a number of theoretical approaches have been used as the basis ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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