The international growth and influence of bioethics has led some to identify it as a decisive shift in the location and exercise of 'biopower'. This book provides an in-depth study of how philosophers, lawyers and other 'outsiders' came to play a major role in discussing and helping to regulate issues that used to be left to doctors and scientists. It discusses how club regulation stemmed not only from the professionalising tactics of doctors and scientists, but was compounded by the 'hands-off' approach of politicians and professionals in fields such as law, philosophy and theology. The book outlines how theologians such as Ian Ramsey argued that 'transdisciplinary groups' were needed to meet the challenges posed by secular and increasingly pluralistic societies. It also examines their links with influential figures in the early history of American bioethics. The book centres on the work of the academic lawyer Ian Kennedy, who was the most high-profile advocate of the approach he explicitly termed 'bioethics'. It shows how Mary Warnock echoed governmental calls for external oversight. Many clinicians and researchers supported her calls for a 'monitoring body' to scrutinise in vitro fertilisation and embryo research. The growth of bioethics in British universities occurred in the 1980s and 1990s with the emergence of dedicated centres for bioethics. The book details how some senior doctors and bioethicists led calls for a politically-funded national bioethics committee during the 1980s. It details how recent debates on assisted dying highlight the authority and influence of British bioethicists.
From Reason to Practice in Bioethics: An Anthology Dedicated to the Works of John Harris brings together original contributions from some of the world’s leading scholars in the field of bioethics. With a particular focus on, and critical engagement with, the influential work of Professor John Harris, the book provides a detailed exploration of some of the most interesting and challenging philosophical and practical questions raised in bioethics. The book’s broad range of chapters make it a useful resource for students, scholars, and practitioners interested in the field of bioethics, and the relationship between philosophical and practical ethics. The range of contributors and topics afford the book a wide international interest.
Ian Kennedy, oversight and accountability in the 1980s
‘Who’s for bioethics?’
Ian Kennedy, oversight and
accountability in the 1980s
Bioethics ceased to be an ‘American trend’ during the 1980s, when
growing numbers of British outsiders publicly demanded greater
external involvement in the development of guidelines for medicine
and biological science. Their arguments were certainly successful.
By the beginning of the 1990s, when the Guardian described the
growing ‘ethics industry’, supporters of this new approach were
influential public figures. One of the earliest and most high profile
of these supporters was the
The unbearable desire for explicitness and
rationality in bioethics
Michael Parker and Micaela Ghisleni
‘[S]omeone can only claim that their actions or decisions stem from moral conviction or are dictated by moral considerations – are in short part of an attempt
to live by ethical standards, if they can say why those actions are right, if they
can show how they are justified. To have a moral belief is, whatever else it is, to
believe that the world will be a better place if certain things happen and others
do not, and that it will be a worse place if the
Debates Surrounding Ebola Vaccine Trials in Eastern Democratic Republic of
Myfanwy James, Joseph Grace Kasereka, and Shelley Lees
( Fairhead et al. ,
2006 ). While bioethical frameworks centre on standardised protocols,
ethnographic studies have examined how clinical research is interpreted by its
participants, and the political and historical factors influencing these
understandings ( Enria and Lees, 2018 ).
This literature has highlighted the importance of placing bioethics in their
political and economic context, exposing the limits to bioethical discourses and the
context. The authors clearly place the medical response in its historical and political
context, exposing and exacerbating ‘a profound sense of distrust in the central
government and foreign intervention, which was linked to the region’s history of
political marginalisation as well as contemporary political upheaval and
violence’. The anthropological rather than classic bioethical approach is
particularly revelatory, treating the study subjects as ‘interlocutors in ongoing
global ethics debates, not
Matthew Hunt, Sharon O’Brien, Patrick Cadwell, and Dónal P. O’Mathúna
Sinding , C.
L. ( 2014 ), ‘ The Ethics of
Engaged Presence: A Framework for Health Professionals in Humanitarian
Assistance and Development Work ’, Developing
World Bioethics , 14 : 1 ,
47 – 55 .
IFRC ( 1995 ), The Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and
What is bioethics?
Recent decades have witnessed profound shifts in the politics of
medicine and the biological sciences, in which members of several
professions now consider issues that were traditionally the preserve
of doctors and scientists. In government committees and organisations such as the General Medical Council, professional conduct
is determined by a diverse group of participants that includes philosophers, lawyers, theologians, social scientists, doctors, scientists,
healthcare managers and representatives from patient or pressure
A national ethics committee and bioethics during the 1990s
Consolidating the ‘ethics industry’:
a national ethics committee and
bioethics during the 1990s
During the 1980s many of the individuals who were pivotal to the
making of British bioethics sought to establish what the British
Medical Journal identified as a ‘national bioethics committee’.1 Ian
Kennedy, for one, regularly called for a politically funded committee
based on the American President’s Commission, and his proposals
were often endorsed by newspapers and other bioethicists. They
were also endorsed by senior figures at the BMA, who believed a
Thought and memory
What is bioethics for?
Indeed what is ethics for?
Readers of this volume will themselves have formed their own ideas about
what bioethics is in terms of the questions it addresses and its methods of
inquiry. But, apart from its intrinsic interest, what makes bioethics worth
doing, what makes it worthy of anyone’s attention? What I hope this introductory chapter will do is give some sense of what I have been trying to do
in my life in bioethics, and of some of the influences and events that have
shaped its course. In short, I