Bioethics, Biolaw, and Western Legal Heritage
Bioethics and biolaw are two philosophical approaches that address social tension and conflict caused by emerging bioscientific and biomedical research and application. Both reflect their respective, yet different, heritages in Western law. Bioethics can be defined as "the research and practice, generally interdisciplinary in nature, which aims to clarify or resolve ethical questions raised by the advances and application of biomedical and biological sciences" (II, Miller 2000, p. 246). Biolaw, on the other hand, is a legal philosophical concept that can be defined as "the taking of agreed upon principles and practices of bioethics into law with the sanctions that law engenders" (p. 246). Some see biolaw as hierarchical, either evolving from or devolving into bioethics (p. 245), while others think of bioethics and biolaw as a continuum or gradation (p. 246). Whichever view one takes, bioethics and biolaw are, at the least, intertwined (II, Loureiro 2000, p. 71).
Bioethics Research Library, Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University
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