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Keywords:

  • bioethics;
  • medical ethics;
  • public health ethics;
  • ideology;
  • dogmas

ABSTRACT

In this paper I argue that bioethics is in crisis and that it will not have a future unless it begins to embrace a more Socratic approach to its leading assumptions. The absence of a critical and sceptical spirit has resulted in little more than a dominant ideology. I focus on three key issues. First, that too often bioethics collapses into medical ethics. Second, that medical ethics itself is beset by a lack of self-reflection that I characterize here as a commitment to three dogmas. Third, I offer a more positive perspective by suggesting how bioethics may benefit from looking towards public health ethics as a new source of inspiration and direction.