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J Med Ethics. 2015 Jan;41(1):28-33. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2014-102284.

Bioethics: why philosophy is essential for progress.

Abstract

It is the JME's 40th anniversary and my 20th anniversary working in the field. I reflect on the nature of bioethics and medical ethics. I argue that both bioethics and medical ethics together have, in many ways, failed as fields. My diagnosis is that better philosophy is needed. I give some examples of the importance of philosophy to bioethics. I focus mostly on the failure of ethics in research and organ transplantation, although I also consider genetic selection, enhancement, cloning, futility, disability and other topics. I do not consider any topic comprehensively or systematically or address the many reasonable objections to my arguments. Rather, I seek to illustrate why philosophical analysis and argument remain as important as ever to progress in bioethics and medical ethics.

KEYWORDS:

Research Ethics

PMID:
25516929
DOI:
10.1136/medethics-2014-102284
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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