The ordination of bioethicists as secular moral experts

Social Philosophy and Policy 19 (2):59-82 (2002)
The philosophy of medicine cum bioethics has become the socially recognized source for moral and epistemic direction in health-care decision-making. Over the last three decades, this field has been accepted politically as an authorized source of guidance for policy and law. The field's political actors have included the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research , the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and the new Council on Bioethics; these groups and agencies have set forth rules on issues ranging from the role of humans in biomedical research to the production of human embryos for research, the definition of death, and the permissibility of human cloning. The members of the field are not just scholars and teachers in an academic realm directed to both theoretical and applied issues. They are, in addition, practitioners of a conceptual and moral trade that possesses a legal and political standing. This essay critically addresses the sudden emergence of bioethics as a societally recognized source of moral guidance, a source replete with authorized moral experts. Attention is directed to moral and conceptual assumptions that have led the philosophy of medicine, and especially bioethics, to acquire a quasi-juridical/political role in guiding clinical choices, framing health-care policy, and directing court holdings
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S026505250219203X
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,904
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Mark B. Brown (2009). Three Ways to Politicize Bioethics. American Journal of Bioethics 9 (2):43 – 54.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

27 ( #112,449 of 1,725,442 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,420 of 1,725,442 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.