Social Philosophy and Policy 19 (2):113-125 (2002)

Kevin Wm. Wildes
Loyola University, New Orleans
When many people think of bioethics, they think of gripping issues in clinical medicine such as end-of-life decision-making, controversies in biomedical research such as that over work with stem cells, or issues in allocating scarce health-care resources such as organs or money. The term “bioethics” may evoke images of moral controversies being discussed on news programs and talk shows. But this “controversy of the day” focus often treats ethical issues in medicine superficially, for it addresses them as if they could be examined and discussed in isolation from the context in which they are situated. Such a focus on the latest controversies fails to take into account that medicine is a social institution and that the controversies in bioethics often reflect deeper social and moral issues that transcend the boundaries of medicine and ethics. If one moves beyond the issue-of-the-day approach to bioethics, one can see that the field must address these deeper issues
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DOI 10.1017/s0265052502192053
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