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
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,687
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

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

View all 16 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Foundations of Bioethics: Contingency and Relevance.Mark P. Aulisio - 1998 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 23 (4):428 – 438.
Are Moral Philosophers Moral Experts?Bernward Gesang - 2010 - Bioethics 24 (4):153-159.
Talking Ethics with Strangers: A View From Jewish Tradition.Louis E. Newman - 1993 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 18 (6):549-567.
Will the "Secular Priests" of Bioethics Work Among the Sinners?Chris MacDonald - 2003 - American Journal of Bioethics 3 (2):36-39.
Dialogue in the Degenerate Case?Patrick G. T. Healey - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (2):201-201.
Who Needs Bioethicists?Hallvard Lillehammer - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 35 (1):131-144.


Added to PP index

Total views
50 ( #206,068 of 2,432,279 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #466,747 of 2,432,279 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes