Central Tenants of Bioethics

As we address topics in health and medicine in this blog, it is important to keep in mind the central tenants of bioethics.  Even if these tenants are not explicitly stated in an article, they they are ways to consider “what is ethical” in a given scenario.

“Nothing that you do in science is guaranteed to result in benefits for [hu]mankind. Any discovery, I believe, is morally neutral and it can be turned either to constructive or destructive ends”.

Arthur Galson, Ph.D. (Biologist/Plant Physiologist/Bioethicist)


As Dr. Galston’s quote demonstrates, scientific advancements have many potential implications.  It is not so much the existence of a technology that dictates if the technology can will be “moral”, but rather how the technology is used.  By what criteria should we assess the morality of applications of different technology and scientific knowledge?
… This is where ethical principles come in

Below you will see the central principles of bioethics that can be useful when engaging with content in this blog.

◦Autonomy is the principle that states people should be able to make informed decisions about what happens to them without being coerced.

◦Beneficence involves doing or producing good for the person(s) involved.

◦Non-maleficence means not harming the person(s) involved, even through acts of omission.

◦Justice warrants an obligation to provide person(s) with what they are owed. In public life, we are obliged to treat all people fairly and unbiasedly.

◦Fidelity refers to the concept of keeping a commitment and requires loyalty, fairness, truthfulness, and dedication to others.



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