Bioethics: Practice


Bioethics is a multidisciplinary field that encompasses academic bioethics, clinical bioethics and health policy. Contemporary currents in bioethics emphasize the significance of practical experience for moral judgment, the influence of narrative and rhetorical style on ethical reasoning and the need to examine the social structures involved in the creation of power, authority and oppression.

Keywords: history; interdisciplinary; casuistry; narrative; feminism


Beauchamp T and Childress J (2008) Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 6th edn. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Chambers T (1999) The Fiction of Bioethics: Cases as Literary Texts. New York, NY: Routledge.

Charon R and Montello M (2002) Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics. New York, NY: Routledge.

Downie RS (1994) The Healing Arts: An Oxford Illustrated Anthology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Elliott C (1999) A Philosophical Disease: Bioethics, Culture and Identity. New York, NY: Routledge.

Frank A (1995) The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness and Ethics. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Jonsen A and Toulmin S (1988) The Abuse of Casuistry: A History of Moral Reasoning. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Little MO (1996) Why a feminist approach to bioethics? Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 6(1): 1–18.

Nadelhaft R and Bonebakker V (2008) Imagine what it's like: a literature and medicine anthology. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i Press.

Nelson H (ed.) (1997) Stories and their Limits: Narrative Approaches to Bioethics. New York, NY: Routledge.

Nicholas B (2001) Exploring a moral landscape: genetic science and ethics. Hypatia 16(1): 45–63.

President's Council on Bioethics (2003) Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness. Washington, DC: The President's Council on Bioethics.

Further Reading

Campbell AV (2000) My country ‘tis of thee: the myopia of American bioethics. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 3: 195–198.

Churchill L (1999) Are we professionals? A critical look at the social role of bioethicists. Daedalus 182(4): 253–274.

Elliott C (ed.) (2001) Slow Cures and Bad Philosophers: Essays on Wittgenstein, Medicine and Bioethics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Gillett G (1997) Is there anything wrong with Hitler these days? Ethics in a postmodern world. Medical Humanities Review 11(2): 9–20.

Hauerwas S (1993) Why I am neither a communitarian nor a medical ethicist. Hastings Center Report 23(suppl. 6) : S9–S10.

Hoffmaster B (1992) Can ethnography save the life of medical ethics? Social Science and Medicine 35(12): 1421–1431.

Jonsen AR (2003) The Birth of Bioethics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Tong R (1997) Feminist Approaches to Bioethics: Theoretical Reflections and Practical Applications. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Toulmin S (1982) How medicine saved the life of ethics. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 25(4): 736–750.

Turner L (1998) An anthropological exploration of contemporary bioethics: the varieties of common sense. Journal of Medical Ethics 24(2): 127–133.

Wolf S (1996) Feminism and Bioethics: Beyond Reproduction. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Elliott, Carl, and Johnston, Josephine(Sep 2009) Bioethics: Practice. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005892.pub2]