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Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 10–17 | Cite as

Don't Blame the ‘Bio’ — Blame the ‘Ethics’: Varieties of (bio) ethics and the challenge of pluralism

  • Max Charlesworth
Article

Abstract

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 assumptions 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.

Keywords

Ethical theory principal-based ethics religion moral development cultural diversity 

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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Max Charlesworth
    • 1
  1. 1.Deakin UniversityAustralia

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