Bioethics
Overview
Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 brought about by advances in biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 and medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences
Life sciences
The life sciences comprise the fields of science that involve the scientific study of living organisms, like plants, animals, and human beings. While biology remains the centerpiece of the life sciences, technological advances in molecular biology and biotechnology have led to a burgeoning of...

, biotechnology
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

, medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

, law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, and philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

.
The term Bioethics (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 bios, life; ethos, behavior) was coined in 1927 by Fritz Jahr, who "anticipated many of the arguments and discussions now current in biological research involving animals" in an article about the "bioethical imperative," as he called it, regarding the scientific use of animals and plants.
Encyclopedia
Bioethics is the study of controversial ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 brought about by advances in biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 and medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among life sciences
Life sciences
The life sciences comprise the fields of science that involve the scientific study of living organisms, like plants, animals, and human beings. While biology remains the centerpiece of the life sciences, technological advances in molecular biology and biotechnology have led to a burgeoning of...

, biotechnology
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

, medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

, law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, and philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

.

Terminology

The term Bioethics (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 bios, life; ethos, behavior) was coined in 1927 by Fritz Jahr, who "anticipated many of the arguments and discussions now current in biological research involving animals" in an article about the "bioethical imperative," as he called it, regarding the scientific use of animals and plants. Lolas, F. (2008). Bioethics and animal research: A personal perspective and a note on the contribution of Fritz Jahr. Fritz Jahr's 1927 concept of bioethics. Kennedy Inst Ethics J, In 1970, the American biochemist Van Rensselaer Potter
Van Rensselaer Potter
Van Rensselaer Potter II was an American biochemist. He was professor of oncology at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison for more than 50 years....

 also used the term with a broader meaning including solidarity towards the biosphere, thus generating a "global ethics," a discipline representing a link between biology, ecology, medicine and human values in order to attain the survival of both human beings and other animal species.

Development of a discipline

Although bioethical issues have been debated since ancient times, and public attention briefly focused on the role of human subjects in biomedical experiments following the revelation of Nazi experiments conducted during World War II, the modern field of bioethics first emerged as an academic discipline in Anglophone societies in the 1960s. Technological advances in such diverse areas as organ transplantation and end-of-life care, including the development of kidney dialysis and respirators, posed novel questions regarding when and how care might be withdrawn. Furthermore, as philosophy in Britain and elsewhere moved away from the influences of logical positivism and emotivism, the development of theories of ethics and their application to practical problems gained in interest. These questions were often discussed by philosophers and religious scholars; in England, there were notable contributions from GEM Anscombe and RM Hare. By the 1970s, bioethical think tanks and academic bioethics programs had emerged. Among the earliest such institutions were the Hastings Center
Hastings Center
The Hastings Center, founded in 1969, is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit bioethics research institute based in the United States. It is dedicated to the examination of essential questions in health care, biotechnology, and the environment...

 (originally known as The Institute of Society, Ethics and the Life Sciences), founded in 1969 by philosopher Daniel Callahan
Daniel Callahan
Daniel Callahan was born July 19, 1930. Callahan is a philosopher widely recognized for his innovative studies in biomedical ethics.·In high school Callahan was a swimmer and choose to attend Yale University because of its competitive swimming program. While at Yale, he was drawn to...

 and psychiatrist Willard Gaylin
Willard Gaylin
Willard Gaylin is an American psychiatrist and bioethicist. Along with Daniel Callahan, Gaylin founded The Hastings Center in 1969. He has served as a professor of psychiatry at Columbia Medical School, a professor of psychiatry and law at Columbia Law School, and an adjunct professor at Union...

, and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics
Kennedy Institute of Ethics
The Kennedy Institute of Ethics was established at Georgetown University in 1971 as a bioethics center, think tank and library.Scholars based at the Institute, as of 2009, include Ruth Faden and Tom Beauchamp....

, established at Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

 in 1971. The publication of Principles of Biomedical Ethics by James F. Childress and Tom Beauchamp
Tom Beauchamp
Tom L. Beauchamp is an American philosopher and bioethicist. He currently serves as Professor of Philosophy and Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. He earned his B.A. from Southern Methodist University in 1963, a B.D. from Yale Divinity School, and...

—the first American textbook of bioethics—marked a transformative moment in the discipline.

During the subsequent three decades, bioethical issues gained widespread attention through the court cases surrounding the deaths of Karen Ann Quinlan
Karen Ann Quinlan
Karen Ann Quinlan was an important figure in the history of the right to die controversy in the United States....

, Nancy Cruzan
Nancy Cruzan
Nancy Beth Cruzan was a figure in the right-to-die movement. After an automobile accident left her in a persistent vegetative state, her family petitioned in courts for three years, as far as the U.S. Supreme Court , to have her feeding tube removed...

 and Terri Schiavo
Terri Schiavo
The Terri Schiavo case was a legal battle in the United States between the legal guardians and the parents of Teresa Marie "Terri" Schiavo that lasted from 1998 to 2005...

. The field developed its own cadre of widely-known advocates, such as Al Jonsen at the University of Washington, John C Fletcher at the University of Virginia, Ruth Faden
Ruth Faden
Ruth R. Faden, M.P.H., Ph.D., is the Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Executive Director of The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University. She is also a Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University.She has...

 at Johns Hopkins University, and Arthur Caplan
Arthur Caplan
Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., is Emmanuel and Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to coming to Penn in 1994, Caplan taught at the University of Minnesota, the University of Pittsburgh, and Columbia University. He was the...

 at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. US Presidents have focused attention on bioethics for several decades, for instance by forming the President's Commission on the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedicine and Behavioral Research, which produced the landmark report, "Defining Death" in 1981. President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 also relied upon a Council on Bioethics
The President's Council on Bioethics
The President's Council on Bioethics was a group of individuals appointed by United States President George W. Bush to advise his administration on bioethics. Established on November 28, 2001, by Executive Order 13237, the Council was directed to "advise the President on bioethical issues that may...

 in rendering decisions in areas such as the public funding of embryonic stem-cell research

Purpose and scope

The field of bioethics has addressed a broad swath of human inquiry, ranging from debates over the boundaries of life (e.g. abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

, euthanasia
Euthanasia
Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering....

), Surrogacy to the allocation of scarce health care resources (e.g. organ donation
Organ donation
Organ donation is the donation of biological tissue or an organ of the human body, from a living or dead person to a living recipient in need of a transplantation. Transplantable organs and tissues are removed in a surgical procedure following a determination, based on the donor's medical and...

, health care rationing) to the right to turn down medical care for religious or cultural reasons. Bioethicists often disagree among themselves over the precise limits of their discipline, debating whether the field should concern itself with the ethical evaluation of all questions involving biology and medicine, or only a subset of these questions. Some bioethicists would narrow ethical evaluation only to the morality of medical treatments or technological
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

 innovations, and the timing of medical treatment of humans. Others would broaden the scope of ethical evaluation to include the morality of all actions that might help or harm organisms capable of feeling fear.

Principles

One of the first areas addressed by modern bioethicists was that of human experimentation. The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research
National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research
National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research was the first public national body to shape bioethics policy in the United States....

 was initially established in 1974 to identify the basic ethical principles that should underlie the conduct of biomedical and behavioral research involving human subjects. However, the fundamental principles announced in the Belmont Report
Belmont Report
The Belmont Report is a report created by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. Its full title is the Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research, Report of the National Commission...

 (1979)--namely, autonomy
Autonomy
Autonomy is a concept found in moral, political and bioethical philosophy. Within these contexts, it is the capacity of a rational individual to make an informed, un-coerced decision...

, beneficence and justice
Justice
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.-Concept of justice:...

--have influenced the thinking of bioethicists across a wide range of issues. Others have added non-maleficence, human dignity and the sanctity of life to this list of cardinal values.

Another important principle of bioethics is its placement of value on discussion and presentation. Numerous discussion based bioethics groups exist in universities across the United States to champion exactly such goals. Examples include The Ohio State Bioethics Society and the Bioethics Society of Cornell. Professional level versions of these organizations also exist.

Medical ethics

Medical ethics is the study of moral values and judgments as they apply to medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

. As a scholarly discipline, medical ethics encompasses its practical application in clinical settings as well as work on its history, philosophy, theology, and sociology.

Medical ethics tends to be understood narrowly as an applied professional ethics, whereas bioethics appears to have worked more expansive concerns, touching upon the philosophy of science
Philosophy of science
The philosophy of science is concerned with the assumptions, foundations, methods and implications of science. It is also concerned with the use and merit of science and sometimes overlaps metaphysics and epistemology by exploring whether scientific results are actually a study of truth...

 and issues of biotechnology
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

. Still, the two fields often overlap and the distinction is more a matter of style than professional consensus. Medical ethics shares many principles with other branches of healthcare ethics, such as nursing ethics
Nursing ethics
Nursing ethics is a branch of applied ethics that concerns itself with activities in the field of nursing. Nursing ethics shares many principles with medical ethics, such as beneficence, non-maleficence and respect for autonomy...

. A Bioethicist assists the health care and research community in examining moral issues involved in our understanding of life and death, and resolving ethical dilemmas in medicine and science.

Perspectives and methodology

Bioethicists come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have training in a diverse array of disciplines. The field contains individuals trained in philosophy such as Peter Singer
Peter Singer
Peter Albert David Singer is an Australian philosopher who is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne...

 of Princeton University, Daniel Callahan
Daniel Callahan
Daniel Callahan was born July 19, 1930. Callahan is a philosopher widely recognized for his innovative studies in biomedical ethics.·In high school Callahan was a swimmer and choose to attend Yale University because of its competitive swimming program. While at Yale, he was drawn to...

 of the Hastings Center
Hastings Center
The Hastings Center, founded in 1969, is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit bioethics research institute based in the United States. It is dedicated to the examination of essential questions in health care, biotechnology, and the environment...

, and Daniel Brock
Daniel Brock
Dan Brock is an American philosopher and bioethicist. He is currently the Frances Glessner Lee Professor of Medical Ethics in the at Harvard Medical School, the Director of the at the Harvard Medical School, and the of the Harvard University...

 of Harvard University, medically-trained clinician ethicists such as Mark Siegler
Mark Siegler
Mark Siegler is an American physician who specialized in internal medicine. He is a leading medical ethicist, and he works at the University of Chicago, where he heads the medical ethics center. He is a fellow at the Hastings Center, and a co-author of Clinical Ethics: A Practical Approach to...

 of the University of Chicago and Joseph Fins
Joseph Fins
Joseph Jack Fins is an American physician and medical ethicist. He is Chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College where he serves as The E. William Davis, Jr., M.D. Professor of Medical Ethics, and Professor of Medicine, Professor of...

 of Cornell University, lawyers such as Nancy Dubler of Albert Einstein College of Medicine or Jerry Menikoff of the federal Office of Human Research Protections, political economists like Francis Fukuyama
Francis Fukuyama
Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama is an American political scientist, political economist, and author. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford. Before that he served as a professor and director of the International Development program at the School of...

, and theologians including James Childress
James Childress
James Franklin Childress is a philosopher and theologian mainly concerned with ethics, particularly biomedical ethics. Currently he is the John Allen Hollingsworth Professor of Ethics at the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He is also Professor of Medical Education at...

. The field, once dominated by formally trained philosophers, has become increasingly interdisciplinary, with some critics even claiming that the methods of analytic philosophy have had a negative effect on the field's development. Leading journals in the field include The Hastings Center Report
Hastings Center Report
Since 1971, the Hastings Center Report has been one of the leading journals of bioethics in the United States. It is published six times each year by the Hastings Center in Garrison, New York. Gregory Kaebnick is the current editor....

, the American Journal of Bioethics
American Journal of Bioethics
The American Journal of Bioethics , founded in 1999 by bioethicist Dr. Glenn McGee, is a peer reviewed journal published by Taylor and Francis. The journal publishes 12 issues each year, and is available both in print and on the internet, at , the most-visited bioethics website...

, the Journal of Medical Ethics
Journal of Medical Ethics
The Journal of Medical Ethics is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the field of bioethics established in 1975. , its editors are Søren Holm and John Harris ....

and the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
The Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal in the field of bioethics that was established in 1992. The current editors are Thomasine Kushner and Steve Heilig ....

.

Many religious communities have their own histories of inquiry into bioethical issues and have developed rule
Moral
A moral is a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly encapsulated in a maxim...

s and guideline
Guideline (medical)
A medical guideline is a document with the aim of guiding decisions and criteria regarding diagnosis, management, and treatment in specific areas of healthcare...

s on how to deal with these issues from within the viewpoint
Perspective (cognitive)
Perspective in theory of cognition is the choice of a context or a reference from which to sense, categorize, measure or codify experience, cohesively forming a coherent belief, typically for comparing with another...

 of their respective faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

s. The Jewish
Jewish medical ethics
Jewish medical ethics is a modern scholarly and clinical approach to medical ethics that draws upon Jewish thought and teachings. Pioneered by Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits in the 1950s, Jewish medical ethics centers mainly around an applied ethics drawing upon traditional rabbinic law...

, Christian and
Muslim faiths have each developed a considerable body of literature on these matters. In the case of many non-Western cultures, a strict separation of religion from philosophy does not exist. In many Asian cultures, for example, there is a lively discussion on bioethical issues. Buddhist bioethics, in general, is characterised by a naturalistic outlook that leads to a rationalistic, pragmatic approach. Buddhist bioethicists include Damien Keown
Damien Keown
Damien Keown is a prominent bioethicist and authority on Buddhist bioethics. He currently teaches in the Department of History at the University of London...

. In India, Vandana Shiva
Vandana Shiva
Vandana Shiva , is a philosopher, environmental activist, and eco feminist. Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than 20 books and over 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. She was trained as a physicist and received her Ph.D...

 is the leading bioethicist speaking from the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 tradition. In Africa, and partly also in Latin America, the debate on bioethics frequently focusses on its practical relevance in the context of underdevelopment and geopolitical power relations.

See also

  • Bioethics (journal)
    Bioethics (journal)
    Bioethics is a peer-reviewed academic journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the International Association of Bioethics. There are 9 issues published each year, which are available both in print and online...

  • Hastings Center Report (journal)
    Hastings Center Report
    Since 1971, the Hastings Center Report has been one of the leading journals of bioethics in the United States. It is published six times each year by the Hastings Center in Garrison, New York. Gregory Kaebnick is the current editor....

  • Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
  • Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal
    Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal
    The Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal is a quarterly academic journal established in 1991. It is published by the Johns Hopkins University Press on behalf of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and focuses on questions of bioethics such as those relating to the research of and therapeutic use of...

  • Medical law
    Medical law
    Medical law is the branch of law which concerns the prerogatives and responsibilities of medical professionals and the rights of the patient. It should not be confused with medical jurisprudence, which is a branch of medicine, rather than a branch of law....

  • Resources for clinical ethics consultation
    Resources for clinical ethics consultation
    Clinical ethics support services initially developed in the United States of America, following court cases such as the Karen Quinlan case, which stressed the need for mechanisms to resolve ethical disputes within health care...

  • The Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine

Issues

Areas of health sciences that are the subject of published, peer-reviewed bioethical analysis include:

  • Abortion
    Abortion
    Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

  • Animal rights
    Animal rights
    Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

  • Artificial insemination
    Artificial insemination
    Artificial insemination, or AI, is the process by which sperm is placed into the reproductive tract of a female for the purpose of impregnating the female by using means other than sexual intercourse or natural insemination...

  • Artificial life
    Artificial life
    Artificial life is a field of study and an associated art form which examine systems related to life, its processes, and its evolution through simulations using computer models, robotics, and biochemistry. The discipline was named by Christopher Langton, an American computer scientist, in 1986...

  • Artificial womb
  • Assisted suicide
    Assisted suicide
    Assisted suicide is the common term for actions by which an individual helps another person voluntarily bring about his or her own death. "Assistance" may mean providing one with the means to end one's own life, but may extend to other actions. It differs to euthanasia where another person ends...

  • Biocentrism
    Biocentrism
    Biocentrism — also known as the biocentric universe — is a theory proposed in 2007 by American scientist Robert Lanza. In this view, life and biology are central to being, reality, and the cosmos — life creates the universe rather than the other way around...

  • Biopiracy
    Biopiracy
    - Biopiracy and bioprospecting :Bioprospecting is an umbrella term describing the discovery of new and useful biological samples and mechanisms, typically in less-developed countries, either with or without the help of indigenous knowledge, and with or without compensation...

  • Biorisk
    Biorisk
    Biorisk is a term in the public domain that has been used frequently for various purposes and references can be found already in the early 90s...

  • Blood transfusion
    Blood transfusion
    Blood transfusion is the process of receiving blood products into one's circulation intravenously. Transfusions are used in a variety of medical conditions to replace lost components of the blood...

  • Body modification
    Body modification
    Body modification is the deliberate altering of the human body for any non-medical reason, such as aesthetics, sexual enhancement, a rite of passage, religious reasons, to display group membership or affiliation, to create body art, shock value, or self expression...

  • Brain-computer interface
    Brain-computer interface
    A brain–computer interface , sometimes called a direct neural interface or a brain–machine interface , is a direct communication pathway between the brain and an external device...

  • Chimeras
    Chimera (genetics)
    A chimera or chimaera is a single organism that is composed of two or more different populations of genetically distinct cells that originated from different zygotes involved in sexual reproduction. If the different cells have emerged from the same zygote, the organism is called a mosaic...

  • Circumcision
    Circumcision
    Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin and ....

  • Cloning
    Cloning
    Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments , cells , or...

  • Confidentiality
    Confidentiality
    Confidentiality is an ethical principle associated with several professions . In ethics, and in law and alternative forms of legal resolution such as mediation, some types of communication between a person and one of these professionals are "privileged" and may not be discussed or divulged to...

     (medical records)
  • Consent
    Consent
    Consent refers to the provision of approval or agreement, particularly and especially after thoughtful consideration.- Types of consent :*Implied consent is a controversial form of consent which is not expressly granted by a person, but rather inferred from a person's actions and the facts and...

  • Contraception
    Contraception
    Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

     (birth control
    Birth control
    Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

    )
  • Cryonics
    Cryonics
    Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of humans and animals who can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that healing and resuscitation may be possible in the future. Cryopreservation of people or large animals is not reversible with current technology...

  • Disability
    Disability
    A disability may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.Many people would rather be referred to as a person with a disability instead of handicapped...

  • Eugenics
    Eugenics
    Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

  • Euthanasia
    Euthanasia
    Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering....

     (human, non-human animal)
  • Exorcism
    Exorcism
    Exorcism is the religious practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person or place which they are believed to have possessed...

  • Faith Healing
    Faith healing
    Faith healing is healing through spiritual means. The healing of a person is brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or rituals that, according to adherents, stimulate a divine presence and power toward correcting disease and disability. Belief in divine intervention in illness or...

  • Feeding tube
    Feeding tube
    A feeding tube is a medical device used to provide nutrition to patients who cannot obtain nutrition by swallowing. The state of being fed by a feeding tube is called gavage, enteral feeding or tube feeding...

  • Gene theft
    Gene theft
    Gene theft or DNA theft is the act of acquiring the genetic material of another human being, often from a public place, without his or her permission. The DNA may be harvested from a wide variety of common objects such as discarded cigarettes, used coffee cups and hairbrushes...


  • Gene therapy
    Gene therapy
    Gene therapy is the insertion, alteration, or removal of genes within an individual's cells and biological tissues to treat disease. It is a technique for correcting defective genes that are responsible for disease development...

  • Genetically modified food
    Genetically modified food
    Genetically modified foods are foods derived from genetically modified organisms . Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques...

  • Genetically modified organism
    Genetically modified organism
    A genetically modified organism or genetically engineered organism is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These techniques, generally known as recombinant DNA technology, use DNA molecules from different sources, which are combined into one...

  • Genomics
    Genomics
    Genomics is a discipline in genetics concerning the study of the genomes of organisms. The field includes intensive efforts to determine the entire DNA sequence of organisms and fine-scale genetic mapping efforts. The field also includes studies of intragenomic phenomena such as heterosis,...

  • Great Ape Project
    Great Ape Project
    The Great Ape Project , founded in 1994, is an international organization of primatologists, anthropologists, ethicists, and other experts who advocate a United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Great Apes that would confer basic legal rights on non-human great apes: chimpanzees, bonobos,...

  • Human cloning
    Human cloning
    Human cloning is the creation of a genetically identical copy of a human. It does not usually refer to monozygotic multiple births nor the reproduction of human cells or tissue. The ethics of cloning is an extremely controversial issue...

  • Human enhancement
    Human enhancement
    Human enhancement refers to any attempt to temporarily or permanently overcome the current limitations of the human body through natural or artificial means...

  • Human experimentation in the United States
    Human experimentation in the United States
    There have been numerous experiments performed on human test subjects in the United States that have been considered unethical, and were often performed illegally, without the knowledge, consent, or informed consent of the test subjects....

  • Human genetic engineering
    Human genetic engineering
    Human genetic engineering is the alteration of an individual's genotype with the aim of choosing the phenotype of a newborn or changing the existing phenotype of a child or adult....

  • Iatrogenesis
    Iatrogenesis
    Iatrogenesis, or an iatrogenic artifact is an inadvertent adverse effect or complication resulting from medical treatment or advice, including that of psychologists, therapists, pharmacists, nurses, physicians and dentists...

  • Infertility treatments
    Infertility
    Infertility primarily refers to the biological inability of a person to contribute to conception. Infertility may also refer to the state of a woman who is unable to carry a pregnancy to full term...

  • Life extension
    Life extension
    Life extension science, also known as anti-aging medicine, experimental gerontology, and biomedical gerontology, is the study of slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend both the maximum and average lifespan...

  • Life support
    Life support
    Life support, in medicine is a broad term that applies to any therapy used to sustain a patient's life while they are critically ill or injured. There are many therapies and techniques that may be used by clinicians to achieve the goal of sustaining life...

  • Lobotomy
    Lobotomy
    Lobotomy "; τομή – tomē: "cut/slice") is a neurosurgical procedure, a form of psychosurgery, also known as a leukotomy or leucotomy . It consists of cutting the connections to and from the prefrontal cortex, the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the brain...

  • Medical malpractice
    Medical malpractice
    Medical malpractice is professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient, with most cases involving medical error. Standards and...

  • Medical research
  • Medical torture
    Medical torture
    Medical torture describes the involvement and sometimes active participation of medical professionals in acts of torture, either to judge what victims can endure, to apply treatments which will enhance torture, or as torturers in their own right...

  • Mediation
    Mediation
    Mediation, as used in law, is a form of alternative dispute resolution , a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties. A third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate their own settlement...

  • Moral obligation
    Moral obligation
    The term moral obligation has a number of meanings in moral philosophy, in religion, and in layman's terms. Generally speaking, when someone says of an act that it is a "moral obligation," they refer to a belief that the act is one prescribed by their set of values.Moral philosophers differ as to...

  • Moral status of animals
  • Nanomedicine
    Nanomedicine
    Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology. Nanomedicine ranges from the medical applications of nanomaterials, to nanoelectronic biosensors, and even possible future applications of molecular nanotechnology. Current problems for nanomedicine involve understanding the issues related...

  • Organ donation
    Organ donation
    Organ donation is the donation of biological tissue or an organ of the human body, from a living or dead person to a living recipient in need of a transplantation. Transplantable organs and tissues are removed in a surgical procedure following a determination, based on the donor's medical and...

  • Organ transplant
    Organ transplant
    Organ transplantation is the moving of an organ from one body to another or from a donor site on the patient's own body, for the purpose of replacing the recipient's damaged or absent organ. The emerging field of regenerative medicine is allowing scientists and engineers to create organs to be...

  • Pain management
    Pain management
    Pain management is a branch of medicine employing an interdisciplinary approach for easing the suffering and improving the quality of life of those living with pain. The typical pain management team includes medical practitioners, clinical psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists,...

  • Parthenogenesis
    Parthenogenesis
    Parthenogenesis is a form of asexual reproduction found in females, where growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization by a male...

  • Patients' Bill of Rights

  • Placebo
    Placebo
    A placebo is a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient...

  • Political abuse of psychiatry
    Political abuse of psychiatry
    Political abuse of psychiatry is the purported misuse of psychiatric diagnosis, detention and treatment for the purposes of obstructing the fundamental human rights of certain groups and individuals in a society...

  • Population control
    Population control
    Human population control is the practice of artificially altering the rate of growth of a human population.Historically, human population control has been implemented by limiting the population's birth rate, usually by government mandate, and has been undertaken as a response to factors including...

  • Prescription drugs (prices in the US
    Prescription drug prices in the United States
    Prescription drug prices in the United States are the highest in the world. "The prices Americans pay for prescription drugs, which are far higher than those paid by citizens of any other developed country, help explain why the pharmaceutical industry is — and has been for years — the most...

    )
  • Procreative beneficence
    Procreative beneficence
    Procreative beneficence is the moral obligation of parents to have the healthiest children through all natural and artificial means available.The term was coined by Julian Savulescu, a professor of applied ethics at St Cross College in Oxford.-See also:...

  • Professional ethics
    Professional ethics
    Professional ethics encompass the personal and corporate standards of behaviour expected of professionals.- Professional ethics :Professional people and those working in acknowledged professions exercise specialist knowledge and skill...

  • Psychosurgery
    Psychosurgery
    Psychosurgery, also called neurosurgery for mental disorder , is the neurosurgical treatment of mental disorder. Psychosurgery has always been a controversial medical field. The modern history of psychosurgery begins in the 1880s under the Swiss psychiatrist Gottlieb Burckhardt...

  • Quality of Life (Healthcare)
    Quality of life (healthcare)
    Quality of Life is a phrase used to refer to an individual’s total wellbeing. This includes all emotional, social, and physical aspects of the individual’s life. However, when the phrase is used in reference to medicine and healthcare as Health Related Quality of Life, it refers to how the...

  • Quaternary prevention
    Quaternary prevention
    The quaternary prevention, concept coined by the Belgian general practitioner , are the action taken to identify patient at risk of overmedicalisation, to protect him from new medical invasion, and to suggest to him interventions, which are ethically acceptable...

  • Recreational drug use
    Recreational drug use
    Recreational drug use is the use of a drug, usually psychoactive, with the intention of creating or enhancing recreational experience. Such use is controversial, however, often being considered to be also drug abuse, and it is often illegal...

  • Reproductive rights
    Reproductive rights
    Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health. The World Health Organization defines reproductive rights as follows:...

  • Reprogenetics
    Reprogenetics
    Reprogenetics is a term referring to the merging of reproductive and genetic technologies expected to happen in the near future as techniques like germinal choice technology become more available and more powerful. The term was coined by Lee M...

  • Sex reassignment therapy
    Sex reassignment therapy
    Sex reassignment therapy is an umbrella term for all medical procedures regarding sex reassignment of both transgender and intersexual people...

  • Sperm
    Sperm donation
    Sperm donation is the provision by a man, , of his sperm, with the intention that it be used to impregnate a woman who is not usually the man's sexual partner, in order to produce a child....

     and eggs (donation)
  • Spiritual drug use
  • Stem cell research
    Stem cell
    This article is about the cell type. For the medical therapy, see Stem Cell TreatmentsStem cells are biological cells found in all multicellular organisms, that can divide and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells...

  • Suicide
    Suicide
    Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

  • Surrogacy
    Surrogacy
    Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person. This woman may be the child's genetic mother , or she may carry the pregnancy to delivery after having an embryo, to which she has no genetic relationship whatsoever, transferred to her uterus...

  • Three-parent babies
  • Transexuality
  • Transhumanism
    Transhumanism
    Transhumanism, often abbreviated as H+ or h+, is an international intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human...

  • Transplant trade
  • Vaccination controversy
  • Xenotransfusion
  • Xenotransplantation
    Xenotransplantation
    Xenotransplantation , is the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another. Such cells, tissues or organs are called xenografts or xenotransplants...

  • Yoga
    Yoga
    Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...



General bioethics

  • Caplan, Arthur
    Arthur Caplan
    Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., is Emmanuel and Robert Hart Professor of Bioethics and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to coming to Penn in 1994, Caplan taught at the University of Minnesota, the University of Pittsburgh, and Columbia University. He was the...

      Smart Mice Not So Smart People Rowman Littlefield 2006
  • Häyry, Matti; Tuija Takala; Peter Herissone-Kelly; Gardar Árnason (Eds.) (2010). Arguments and Analysis in Bioethics. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi. ISBN 978-90-420-2802-9
  • Luna, Florencia, (2006) Bioethics and Vulnerability: A Latin American View. Edited by Peter Herissone-Kelly. Translated from Spanish by Laura Pakter. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi. ISBN 978-90-420-2073-3

Christian bioethics

  • Colson, Charles W.
    Charles Colson
    Charles Wendell "Chuck" Colson is a Christian leader, cultural commentator, and former Special Counsel for President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973....

     (ed.) (2004). Human Dignity in the Biotech Century: A Christian Vision for Public Policy. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press
    InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
    InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is an inter-denominational, evangelical Christian, student-led ministry which for the past 70 years has been dedicated to establishing witnessing communities on U.S. college and university campuses...

    . ISBN 0-8308-2783-8
  • Demy, Timothy J. and Gary P. Stewart. (1998). Suicide: A Christian Response: Crucial Considerations for Choosing Life. Grand Rapids: Kregel. ISBN 0-8254-2355-4
  • Pope John Paul II
    Pope John Paul II
    Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

    . (1995). Evangelium Vitae
    Evangelium Vitae
    Evangelium Vitae is the name of the encyclical written by Pope John Paul II which expresses the position of the Catholic Church regarding the value and inviolability of human life...

    : The Gospel of Life
    . New York: Random House. ISBN 0-8129-2671-4
  • Kilner, John et al. (1995). Bioethics and the Future of Medicine: A Christian Appraisal. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8028-4081-7
  • Kilner, John F., Arlene B. Miller, and Edmund D. Pellegrino (eds.). (1996). Dignity and Dying: A Christian Appraisal. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co.; and Carlisle, United Kingdom: Paternoster Press. ISBN 0-8028-4232-1
  • Meilaender, Gilbert (2004). Bioethics: A Primer For Christians. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8028-4234-8
  • Loudovikos, Nikolaos
    Nikolaos Loudovikos
    Protopresbyter Fr. Nikolaos Loudovikos is a Greek theologian, priest, psychologist, author and professor.Fr. Nikolaos Loudovikos was born in Volos, Greece in 1959...

    , Protopresbyter (2002). The Individualization of Death and Euthanasia, Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, Committee of Bioethics, Scientific Conference on Euthanasia (Athens, May 17–18, 2002), retrieved on February 27, 2009. (Article in Greek).
  • Pope Paul VI
    Pope Paul VI
    Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

    . (1968). Humanae Vitae
    Humanae Vitae
    Humanae Vitae is an encyclical written by Pope Paul VI and issued on 25 July 1968. Subtitled On the Regulation of Birth, it re-affirms the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church regarding married love, responsible parenthood, and the continuing proscription of most forms of birth...

    : Human Life
    . Vatican City.
  • Smith, Wesley J.
    Wesley J. Smith
    Wesley J. Smith is a lawyer and an award-winning author, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center on Human Exceptionalism. He is also a lawyer and consultant for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, and a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and...

     (2004). Consumer's Guide to A Brave New World. San Francisco: Encounter Books. ISBN 1-893554-99-6
  • Smith, Wesley J. (2000). Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America. San Francisco: Encounter Books. ISBN 1-893554-06-6
  • Smith, Wesley J. (1997). Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Murder. New York: Times Books. ISBN 0-8129-2790-7
  • Stewart, Gary P. et al. (1998). Basic Questions on Suicide and Euthanasia: Are They Ever Right? BioBasics Series. Grand Rapids: Kregel. ISBN 0-8254-3072-0
  • Stewart, Gary P. et al. (1998). Basic Questions on End of Life Decisions: How Do We Know What's Right? Grand Rapids: Kregel. ISBN 0-8254-3070-4
  • Westphal, Euler Renato
    Euler Renato Westphal
    Euler Renato Westphal is a professor, writer, theologian and Lutheran Brazilian pastor.-Brief biography:Westphal earned a bachelor's degree in theology from Missions Seminary of St. Chrischona Pilgrim Mission...

    . O Oitavo dia – na era da seleção artificial (See The Eighth Day (book)
    The Eighth Day (book)
    The Eighth Day is the second book of Dr. Euler Renato Westphal, originally publicated in Portuguese with the title "O Oitavo Dia: Na era da seleção natural".In the second book of Dr...

     Review) . 1. ed. São Bento do Sul: União Cristã, 2004. v. 01. 125 p. ISBN 85-87485-18-0

Jewish bioethics

  • Bleich, J. David
    J. David Bleich
    J. David Bleich is an authority on Jewish law and ethics, including Jewish medical ethics. He is rabbi of Cong. B'nei Jehuda...

    . (1981). Judaism and Healing. New York: Ktav. ISBN 0-87068-891-X
  • Dorff, Elliot N. (1998). Matters of Life and Death: A Jewish Approach to Modern Medical Ethics. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society. ISBN 0-8276-0647-8
  • Feldman DM. (1974). Marital relations, birth control, and abortion in Jewish law. New York: Schocken Books.
  • Freedman B. (1999). Duty and healing: foundations of a Jewish bioethic. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92179-1
  • Jakobovits I
    Immanuel Jakobovits
    Immanuel Jakobovits, Baron Jakobovits, Kt was the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1967 to 1991. His successor is the present Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks.-Biography:...

    . (1959). Jewish Medical Ethics. New York: Bloch Publishing.
  • Mackler, Aaron L. (ed.) (2000). Life & Death Responsibilities in Jewish Biomedical Ethics. New York: JTS. ISBN 0-87334-081-7.
  • Maibaum M. "A 'progressive' Jewish medical ethics: notes for an agenda" in Journal of Reform Judaism 1986;33(3):27-33.
  • Rosner, Fred. (1986). Modern medicine and Jewish ethics. New York: Yeshiva University Press. ISBN 0-88125-091-0
  • Conservative Judaism Vol. 54(3), Spring 2002 (contains a set of six articles on bioethics)
  • Zohar, Noam J. (1997). Alternatives in Jewish Bioethics. Albany: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-3273-4

Muslim bioethics

  • Al Khayat MH. "Health and Islamic behaviour" in: El Gindy AR, editor, Health policy, ethics and human values: Islamic perspective. Kuwait: Islamic Organization of Medical Sciences; 1995. p. 447-50.
  • Ebrahim, Abul Fadl Mohsin. (1989). Abortion, Birth Control and Surrogate Parenting. An Islamic Perspective. Indianapolis. ISBN 0-89259-081-5
  • Esposito, John. (ed.) (1995). "Surrogate Motherhood" in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World (vol. 4). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-509615-0
  • Karic, Enes. "The Ethics of Cloning" in Islamica Magazine
    Islamica Magazine
    Islamica Magazine was a quarterly magazine in the United States with editorial offices in Amman, Jordan, Cambridge, MA and London, UK., dedicated to presenting various perspectives and opinions on Islam and the Muslim world...

    Fall/Winter 2004. Issue #11
  • Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics (IMSE) Special Collection and Database at Georgetown University

Buddhist bioethics

  • Florida, R. E. (1994) Buddhism and the Four Principles in Principles of Health Care Ethics, ed. R. Gillon and A. Lloyd, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 105-16.
  • Keown, Damien. (1995) Buddhism & Bioethics. London and New York: Macmillan/St. Martins Press.

Hindu bioethics

  • Coward, H. G., J. J. Lipner, and K. K. Young. (1989) Hindu Ethics: Purity, Abortion, and Euthanasia. Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • Crawford, S. C. (2003) Hindu bioethics for the Twenty-first Century. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
  • Crawford, S. C. (1995) Dilemmas of Life and Death, Hindu Ethics in A North American Context 1995. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
  • Firth, S. (2005) End-of-life: a Hindu view. The Lancet. 366(9486): 682-686.
  • Lakhan, Shaheen. (2008) Hinduism: life and death. Student BMJ. 16(18):310-311.

External links

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