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Perspect Biol Med. 2016;59(1):46-54. doi: 10.1353/pbm.2016.0024.

Moving Bioethics Toward Its Better Self: a sociologist's perspective.


The value and belief questions with which bioethics deals have social, cultural, moral, and societal implications that are not confined to certain spheres of biology and medicine, health and illness, and the delivery of medical care. And yet, throughout its history, the field has continued to be focused on a narrow array of medically associated phenomena to which it has applied a limited set of ethical precepts that originate in Western and American philosophical thought. It has done so in an intellectual atmosphere that has not been characterized by vigorous debate. This paper reflects on these attributes of bioethics, offers some suggestions about how it might expand its topical, ethical, cross-cultural, and international orbit, and invites participants in the field to bring this about through a self-critical process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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