is the discipline dealing with the ethical implications of both
biological research and the applications of that research, especially
in medicine. It is a newer, broader field of study that has
arisen during the past twenty or thirty years. It will become
increasingly more important to the future as the biological
revolution opens up new powers, new choices, and new dilemmas.
For example, cancer and AIDS have brought about fundamental
changes in the accepted ethics principles with the rise
of autonomy as a cardinal principle.
the most striking development in the study of ethics during
the second half of the 20th century has been the growing interest
among philosophers in applied ethics - i.e., the application
of normative theories to practical moral problems. Such moral
issues as racial and sexual equality, human rights, and justice
have become prominent, as have questions about the value of
human life raised by controversies over abortion and euthanasia.
Related to the latter are the ethical implications of various
developments in regard to reproduction as, for example, in vitro
fertilisation, sperm banks, gene manipulation, and cloning.
This field of applied ethics, known as bioethics, frequently
involves the cooperative efforts of philosophers, physicians,
scientists, lawyers, and theologians.
has been used in the last twenty years to describe the investigation
and a study of ways in which decisions in medicine and science
touch upon our health and lives and upon our society and environment.
is concerned with questions about basic human values such
as the rights to life and health, and the rightness or wrongness
of certain developments in healthcare institutions, life technology,
medicine, the health professions and about societys
responsibility for the life and health of its members.
involves issues relating to the beginning and end of human
life, all the way from issues relating to in vitro fertilisation
and abortion to euthanasia and palliative care.
has an impact on every level of human community from the local
nursing home to the huge international conferences on issues
like the Human Genome.
is a branch of applied ethics and requires the expertise of
people working in a wide range disciplines including: law,
philosophy, theology, medicine, the life sciences, nursing
and social science.
is full of difficult ethical questions for everybody: families,
hospitals, governments and civilisation. Fundamental values
are at stake: human life, the dignity of the frail and elderly,
just health care, bodily integrity and the ability to make