Free Essay

History of Bioethics

In: Science

Submitted By sweeteer
Words 967
Pages 4
The term Bioethics (Greek bios, life; ethos, behavior) was coined in 1926 by Fritz Jahr, who "anticipated many of the arguments and discussions now current in biological research involving animals" in an article about the "bioethical imperative," as he called it, regarding the scientific use of animals and plants.[1] In 1970, the American biochemist Van Rensselaer Potter also used the term with a broader meaning including solidarity towards the biosphere, thus generating a "global ethics," a discipline representing a link between biology, ecology, medicine and human values in order to attain the survival of both human beings and other animal species.[2][3]

Purpose and scope[edit]
The field of bioethics has addressed a broad swathe of human inquiry, ranging from debates over the boundaries of life (e.g. abortion, euthanasia), surrogacy, the allocation of scarce health care resources (e.g. organ donation, health care rationing) to the right to refuse medical care for religious or cultural reasons. Bioethicists often disagree among themselves over the precise limits of their discipline, debating whether the field should concern itself with the ethical evaluation of all questions involving biology and medicine, or only a subset of these questions.[4] Some bioethicists would narrow ethical evaluation only to the morality of medical treatments or technological innovations, and the timing of medical treatment of humans. Others would broaden the scope of ethical evaluation to include the morality of all actions that might help or harm organisms capable of feeling fear.

The scope of bioethics can expand with biotechnology, including cloning, gene therapy, life extension, human genetic engineering, astroethics and life in space,[5] and manipulation of basic biology through altered DNA, XNA and proteins.[6] These developments will affect future evolution, and may require new principles that address life at its core, such as biotic ethics that values life itself at its basic biological processes and structures, and seeks their propagation.[7]

One of the first areas addressed by modern bioethicists was that of human experimentation. The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research was initially established in 1974 to identify the basic ethical principles that should underlie the conduct of biomedical and behavioral research involving human subjects. However, the fundamental principles announced in the Belmont Report (1979)—namely, autonomy, beneficence and justice—have influenced the thinking of bioethicists across a wide range of issues. Others have added non-maleficence, human dignity and the sanctity of life to this list of cardinal values.

Another important principle of bioethics is its placement of value on discussion and presentation. Numerous discussion based bioethics groups exist in universities across the United States to champion exactly such goals. Examples include the Ohio State Bioethics Society[8] and the Bioethics Society of Cornell.[9] Professional level versions of these organizations also exist.

Medical ethics[edit]
Main article: Medical ethics
Medical ethics is the study of moral values and judgments as they apply to medicine. As a scholarly discipline, medical ethics encompasses its practical application in clinical settings as well as work on its history, philosophy, theology, and sociology.

Medical ethics tends to be understood narrowly as an applied professional ethics, whereas bioethics appears to have worked more expansive concerns, touching upon the philosophy of science and issues of biotechnology. Still, the two fields often overlap and the distinction is more a matter of style than professional consensus. Medical ethics shares many principles with other branches of healthcare ethics, such as nursing ethics. A bioethicist assists the health care and research community in examining moral issues involved in our understanding of life and death, and resolving ethical dilemmas in medicine and science.

Perspectives and methodology[edit]
Bioethicists come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have training in a diverse array of disciplines. The field contains individuals trained in philosophy such as H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr. of Rice University, Baruch Brody of Rice University, Peter Singer of Princeton University, Daniel Callahan of the Hastings Center, and Daniel Brock of Harvard University, medically trained clinician ethicists such as Mark Siegler of the University of Chicago and Joseph Fins of Cornell University, lawyers such as Nancy Dubler of Albert Einstein College of Medicine or Jerry Menikoff of the federal Office of Human Research Protections, political scientists like Francis Fukuyama, religious studies scholars including James Childress, public intellectuals like Amitai Etzioni of The George Washington University, and theologians like Lisa Sowle Cahill and Stanley Hauerwas. The field, once dominated by formally trained philosophers, has become increasingly interdisciplinary, with some critics even claiming that the methods of analytic philosophy have had a negative effect on the field's development. Leading journals in the field include The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, The Hastings Center Report, the American Journal of Bioethics, the Journal of Medical Ethics and the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. Bioethics has also benefited from the process philosophy developed by Alfred North Whitehead.[10]

Many religious communities have their own histories of inquiry into bioethical issues and have developed rules and guidelines on how to deal with these issues from within the viewpoint of their respective faiths. The Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths have each developed a considerable body of literature on these matters. In the case of many non-Western cultures, a strict separation of religion from philosophy does not exist. In many Asian cultures, for example, there is a lively discussion on bioethical issues. Buddhist bioethics, in general, is characterised by a naturalistic outlook that leads to a rationalistic, pragmatic approach. Buddhist bioethicists include Damien Keown. In India, Vandana Shiva is a leading bioethicist speaking from the Hindu tradition. In Africa, and partly also in Latin America, the debate on bioethics frequently focuses on its practical relevance in the context of underdevelopment and geopolitical power relations.[vague]

Similar Documents

Free Essay


...Bioethics Ramona (Campbell) Haggard Bioethics, by definition, is the ethics of medical and biological research. There are a number of bioethical issues that are being carefully addressed as they arise. Some are easily remedied and some still remain very controversial. In this paper we will explore the use of genetic trait testing, access to genetic information as well as the issue of vaccinating or not. With regards to bioethical related data the accessing, storing, gathering, and sharing medical data for the purpose of using the data for the scientific purpose of research is still a controversial issue in the scientific community. There is no basic problem with sharing medical data electronically, with the implementation of EHR, electronic health records. However, there is yet to be formal ethical guidelines established for the use of this data in the biological sciences community. There have been guidelines introduced for developing ethical principles with the ultimate goal of winning over the scientific community to incorporate the use of this data into their existing code of ethics. The scientific community has an obligation to share this data, if permitted by the patient, for research purposes. It also can be a major factor that could increase the trust of the public with regards to scientific research. Society also had concerns about employers having access to genetic information. (Duke & Porter, 2013) With the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act......

Words: 865 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Henrietta Lacks Thesis

...made her demise different from other related death, is that her cancerous cells changed medical history. Henrietta cancer cells killed her, it metastasized throughout her...

Words: 1571 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Bioethics: Modern Science and Ethics a characteristic that exhibit a process with organization, growth, adaptation, etc.; however, ancient sages told people human life is extremely valuable and sacred, as a religious doctrine in the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not kill.” Moreover, when people talk about ethics, they will think about rules to differentiate right and wrong. It might be wise maxims of Confucius or religious beliefs. The most general way to define “ethics” is that “moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior” (American English in Oxford Dictionary). Bioethics is a pretty young interdisciplinary study, which is considered with ethical questions related to the relationships among human beings, animals, and environments in the late twentieth century. Based on this, bioethics derived three main subdisciplines, which are medical ethics, animal ethics, and environmental ethics. Although each sub-discipline has particular study area in bioethics, there still are overlaps of ethical considerations and approaches. This makes it difficult to easily discuss ethics questions such as stem cell research, xenotransplantation, the ethical status of animals and the ethical status of the environment. Further discussion about the vital issue of moral status solutions is necessary at the same time. In the rapid development of the natural sciences and biotechnology has greatly promoted better living conditions and improve the living standards of people around the world. On another hand, there......

Words: 2352 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Conceptual Map

...been questioned. This paper presents a qualitative analysis of interviews conducted with 15 general practitioners (GPs) in South Australia to argue that the way in which the bioethics literature defines an ethical dilemma captures only some of the range of lay views about the nature of ethical problems. The bioethics literature has defined ethical dilemmas in terms of conflict and choice between values, beliefs and options for action. While some of the views of some of the GPs in this study about the nature of their ethical dilemmas certainly accorded with this definition, other explanations of the ethical nature of their problems revolved around the publicity associated with the issues they were discussing, concern about their relationships with patients, and anxiety about threats to their integrity and reputation. The variety of views about what makes a problem a moral problem indicates that the moral domain is perhaps wider and richer than mainstream bioethics would generally allow. (Journal of Medical Ethics 2001;27:98–103) Keywords: Empirical ethics; general practice; qualitative research Introduction There has been a spirited debate in recent years about the relationship between real life moral decision making and the forms, styles and content of reasoning used in bioethics. On the one hand, moral theorists and, in particular, bioethicists, present the view that their theories of moral reasoning provide a more rational and ordered...

Words: 4926 - Pages: 20

Premium Essay

Arguments for and Against Euthanasia in Terms of Teleological and Deontological Theories

...ABSTRACT The most important general and theoretical horizons regarding bioethics refer to the foundation of ethical theories. We can talk about two main general categories in which we can place the ethical theories: teleological and deontological. From the first category we enumerate the Aristotelian perspective or the one developed by J. St. Mill, while the Kantian perspective is exemplary for deontological ethics. According to the teleological perspective, a form of human behavior is described as moral or non-moral according to the goals explicitly set. The mere achievement of these goals is a necessary and sufficient condition to qualify as moral people’s actions or deeds without taking into account the “intermediate stages” of the actions performed to achieve those goals. Deontology, as a general horizon of articulating the ethical theories, believes on the contrary that in every moment of our existence, every action or deed that we accomplish can be described as moral or non-moral according to the ethical principles underlying our behavior. The very important consequences arising from the two general theoretical horizons concern two different perspectives on “human nature”, or what we call the essence of the human being. Starting from this horizon we will have the consequentialist and deontological dimensions related to euthanasia. The bioethical dimension in which we will discuss the issue of euthanasia involves both dimensions or horizons. The arguments......

Words: 9099 - Pages: 37

Premium Essay

American Medical Ethics

...While the field of prosthetics and medical enhancement may be a relatively new field, the history of medicine is well over 2000 years old. The concept of medical ethics have been a backbone of the practice from the start, “The most famous document in medical history, the Hippocratic Oath (c. 400 B.C.E.), which established a model of ethical and professional behavior for healers” (Paul 1399). According to the article “I. United States” written by a biomedical ethicist and a member of the medical ethics committee: the development of bioethics can best be understood against the background of the development of medicine in the United States from 1900. The twentieth century saw enormous growth in American medicine—in scientific understanding, the...

Words: 1858 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Behavioral Organization

...Zaka Mahmood Ethical Concepts in Health Care Davenport University HLTH 230 Patricia Spiegel Abstract Primary health care as we see is an essential base of building our health system. Advanced development and new tools must consist of operational and supportive relations with the primary health care, along with recommending arrangements to ensure the population of their coverage as to their relevant needs, and be dependable with ethical guidelines linked to the public’s health and the health care. Heading The task of this presentation is to collaborate different issues. Consisting of new development in the health sector, critically providing more effective and indifferent health care along with an improving attitude towards the health population, mainly in developing countries. Primary health care as we see is an essential base of building our health system. Advanced development and new tools must consist of operational and supportive relations with the primary health care, along with recommending arrangements to ensure the population of their coverage as to their relevant needs, and be dependable with ethical guidelines linked to the public’s health and the health care. Most importantly, we would not like for the various advances health sector to utilize helplessly or isolate them self’s from one another, but take the effort to interact and advance complementary components of systems that have a global integrated nature. Now, we redirect to the three set of......

Words: 1975 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Mrs Rana Hijazi

...Week 5: Confidentiality and Bioethical Issues (Nov 20 - Nov 27) Welcome to Week 5! This week, we discuss issues related to bioethics. Since the time of Hippocrates, “First Do No Harm” has been the medical mandate. It is the basic concept that drives all of the codes of ethics for the health professions. The concept is one of the first you learn in school. From this comes the duty to make ethical decisions “in the best interest of the patient.” While all medical professionals would agree that this is the goal, not all would agree on exactly what IS the best interest of the patient in a given situation. Healthcare workers—and specifically physicians—work hard to save lives. Many times, death is seen as a medical failure. Health professionals go to great lengths to preserve life with the assumption that saving the life—at all costs—is in the best interest of all patients. In the past, if that left the patient paralyzed or in a vegetative coma, it was still success - they were alive. Today, this assumption is being reconsidered as patients themselves demand to decide for themselves what is in their own best interest. Of particular interest is Oregon law which states, "an adult who is capable and has been determined by the attending doctor to be suffering from a terminal disease, and who has voluntarily expressed his or her wish to die, may make a written request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner." In short, the patient......

Words: 1983 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

...concerning the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, there is a small assortment of books to choose from. I chose The Tuskegee Syphilis Study by Fred Gray because he was the lawyer in the lawsuits against the government, and I thought that he would be able to provide the most in-depth analysis of the event because he was actually involved in it. It was also written fairly recently, so that enables the book to analyze the long term effects that it has had on African-Americans, the South, and history in general. Gray’s book provides a very informative study, but if you’re looking for more information, check out James Jones’ Bad Blood. Gray takes a lot of information from this book which was written about 20 years before his. When searching the web for information on the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the results were quite slim. Most of the results involved syllabi for college classes or websites much like our own that were prepared for a class. The website that I reviewed is from the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics, which was actually created from President Clinton’s apology and ideas for improvement of racial relations and medical testing. The webpage’s main purpose is to educate the public about the atrocities that were performed on African-Americans in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, and to help prevent an event like this from ever happening again The Tuskegee Syphilis Study by Fred D. Gray examines a medical study that occurred in Tuskegee, Alabama which dealt......

Words: 2331 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Exploring Euthanasia and Pas

...Exploring History and Theories in Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide: An Annotated Bibliography The ethical considerations for euthanasia and physician assisted suicide (PAS) have been debated for decades. As this topic evolves from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, nurses must be prepared to help manage individual cases, as well as participate in shaping the end of life field. If we understand the history of practicing jurisdictions and the evolution of euthanasia and PAS, we can help develop and manage a prudent course of action. Regardless of the nurse’s personal views, this polarizing ethical issue requires a commitment to comprehending the laws of the jurisdiction and adherence to professional responsibilities. Pereira, J. (2011) Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide: the illusion of safeguards and controls. Current Oncology, 18, e38-e45. Retrieved from: The bioethics article offers an extensive body of work that empirically analyzes the effectiveness of boundaries with euthanasia and PAS. The author contends that policy dictates mandatory reporting of euthanasia in practicing countries, but warns of several “transgressions” that occur within the current procedural structure. The main body of the article provides examples and studies to fortify the significant frequency of these transgressions. The slippery slope argument is also addressed. Where by the author documents the......

Words: 1995 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

7 Steps to Decision Making

...7 Steps in Decision Making Cedric Allen HSC 335 Jeannette Orr May 23, 2016 Introduction Mickey Mantle, better known as “The Commerce Comet” was a well-known baseball players during the 50’s and 60’s. He was known for his on-field superstardom, and his off-field conduct. In 1995, he received a liver transplant. This transplant caused uproar in the ethics community because Mantle, was moved ahead of others on the list. In this paper we will explore the seven steps in decision making that caused Mantel to receive the liver transplant and determine whether the decision was based on ethics. Identify a problem or opportunity When identifying a problem the first step is to recognize the problem and/or opportunities and determine if they are worth going through the process. Once this is determined we must see what impact the decision will make on the customers, and how this problem will be solved or the opportunity taken advantage of. In the case of Mickey Mantle the problem we face is that Mickey liver is failing him and if he does not get a transplant immediately he will die. This problem is no different than the rest of the liver transplant candidates, but not only is Mickey’s liver failing him but he has a plethora of other medical problems. “The current organ distribution method in the United States relies on each transplant center to determine which criteria they will use to fairly allocate organs.42 UNOS encourages transplant centers to......

Words: 1175 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Genetically Modified Organism

...December 7, 2013 Table of Contents Abstract Introduction Political Influences Economic Questions and Considerations Psychological Affects Moral and Ethical Implication Conclusion Works Cited Appendix Abstract Introduction The Hunger Games trilogy dwells upon genetic modification. With genetically engineered animals such as the jabberjay, mockingjay, tracker jacker and wolf mutts, monkey mutts and even genetically engineered roses, the trilogy explores the ethics and consequences of toying with Nature. This paper will discuss the pros and cons of genetically modified organisms. Also the economic, psychological effect on society as well as the moral and ethical implications that this technology can have on today’s society. History Genetically modified organisms have continually been around but have recently evolved and came to light in the past 10 years. Genetically modified organisms are described as “An organism whose genetic characteristics have been altered by the insertion of a modified gene or a gene from another organism using the techniques of genetic engineering (, 2013).” genetically modified organism (GMO) is used to refer to any microorganism, plant, or animal in which genetic engineering techniques have been used to introduce, remove, or modify specific parts of its genome(, 2013).” There is a genetic material found inside cells in molecules called (DNA),......

Words: 2687 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Medical Ethics: History and Guiding Principals

...Title: Medical Ethics: History and Guiding Principles Author: Alan J. McGoldrick Course: Medicine, Disease and History Instructor: Professor Foss Date: June 15, 2012 Medical ethics are the moral guidelines and ethical laws that help to prioritize a medical professional's work responsibilities. The code of medical ethics outlines the proper conduct between medical professionals and their patients, communities, and colleagues. Each country has a different code of medical ethics, though most contain the same basic principles, and all share the same history of evolution, according to the World Medical Association. Medical ethics refers to the discussion and application of moral values and responsibilities in the areas of medical practice and research. While questions of medical ethics have been debated since the beginnings of Western medicine in the fifth century B.C., medical ethics as a distinctive field came into prominence only since World War II. (Porter, 1998) This change has come about largely as a result of advances in medical technology, scientific research, and telecommunications. These developments have affected nearly every aspect of clinical practice, from the confidentiality of patient records to end-of-life issues. Moreover, the increased involvement of government in medical research as well as the allocation of health care resources brings with it an additional set of ethical questions. Emerging Medical Ethics Through the Ages Ancient......

Words: 1879 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Applying Ethical Frameworks in Parctice

...Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice Nursing has a renowned history of concern and interest for the welfare of the sick, injured and vulnerable for social justice. Nursing encompasses prevention of illness, decreasing suffering, and the protection, promotion, and restoration of health. Ethics is been an integral part of the foundation of nursing and it is self reflective, enduring and distinctive. In the professional course, a nurse encounters with different types of patients, several types of families and varied situations. Every patient has certain rights and a nurse has to respect them in both legal and ethical aspects. Confidentiality is important to create confidence between nurses and patients. Without promising privacy to their matters, patients will be hesitant to share important information to health care professionals which may be necessary for their care. Respecting patient’s confidentiality is a legal requirement and also a professional, ethical and legal duty. By law, breaching confidentiality may end in unlawful condemnation and punishments The moral consequence when breaking confidentiality is loss of client, loss of reputation, loss of revenue, and breaking of moral, lawful and moral obligations. A credulous bond between nurses and patients will improve patient satisfaction and will help patient to disclose even the most sensitive information which will help in their treatment and care. This will also improve adherence to medical management plans in......

Words: 1012 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Maintaining Patient Confidence

...may conflict with other ethical ideals. A breach of confidentiality occurs when a medical professional discloses information that the patient reasonably expects to be private. When a confidence is divulged, it then is reasonable for the patient to assume that anything they have disclosed revealed. It is a sign of disrespect to the patient that the nurse would make known medical information that they would reasonably expect to be consider private. This type of breach can destroy a bond of trust developed between the patient and their clinician. If the patient does not believe their information is confidential, they might not disclose certain aspects of their health history. This withholding of information may have an important bearing on the patient’s treatment regimen. Assurance that a person’s medical history is kept confidential relies on several ethical principles as described in the book “Ethical Dimensions in the Health Professions, 5th Edition” by Purtilo &...

Words: 1348 - Pages: 6