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  1. Margaret Pabst Battin

Published Online: 1 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee782

The International Encyclopedia of Ethics

How to Cite

Battin, M. P. 2013. Bioethics. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 FEB 2013


Bioethics, as it has emerged from its beginnings in the 1960s and 1970s, has become a complex and highly interdisciplinary field involving multiple disciplines. Its three dominant strains – philosophy, medicine, and law – coexist in amicable tension, supplemented by anthropology, sociology, economics, humanities and literary studies, theology, political science, and many others. Bioethics is in part an academic field (a trait it inherits from philosophy and to some extent theology); it is partly a set of clinical attitudes and resources (a trait grounded in medicine as well as anthropology and sociology); and it is partly a policy-oriented form of social analysis (a trait it derives from law and related fields like economics and political science). Yet however complex its ancestry and its hybrid, essentially tripartite nature, bioethics is an intellectual and social phenomenon that has developed extremely rapidly and now represents a significant cultural force as well as an important practical one.


  • medicine;
  • practical (applied) ethics;
  • autonomy;
  • bioethics;
  • consequentialism;
  • deontology;
  • moral dilemmas;
  • truth