Don't Blame the 'bio' -- Blame the 'ethics': Varieties of (Bio)ethics and the Challenge of Pluralism
Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 2005; 2(1): 10-17
We tend to think that the difficulties in bioethics spring from the novel and alarming issues that arise due to discoveries in the new biosciences and biotechnologies. But many of the crucial difficulties in bioethics arise from the assumption we make about ethics. This paper offers a brief overview of bioethics, and relates ethical 'principlism' to 'ethical fundamentalism.' It then reviews some alternative approaches that have emerged during the second phase of bioethics and argues for a neo-Aristotelian approach. Misconceptions about ethical principles and ethical reasoning not only distort our views of the business of bioethics, but they also prevent us from facing up to the formidable problems posed by ethical pluralism in so-called liberal societies.
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