Central Tenants of Bioethics

As we address bioethical issues in this blog, it is important to keep in mind the different principles and tenants of bioethics that are pertinent to understanding the “ethical permissibility” of a given scenario. Even if these tenants are not explicitly stated in this blog, they are

“Nothing that you do in science is guaranteed to result in benefits for 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 implications that can be double-edged swords.   It is not so much the existence of the technology that implies moral permissibility, but rather how the technology is used and implemented.  By what criteria should we assess the moral permissibility of the usage of a specific technology?
… 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 informed
and able to make decisions about what happens to them without being
◦Beneficence  requires that an action be undertaken with the intent of doing
good for the person(s) involved.
◦Non maleficence requires that we not intentionally harm or injure others, even through acts of omission.
◦Justice warrants an obligation to provide others with whatever they are owed
or deserve. In public life, we have an obligation to treat all people fairly and unbiasedly.
◦Fidelity refers to the concept of keeping a commitment and is based
upon the virtue of caring. This principle requires loyalty, fairness, truthfulness,
advocacy, and dedication to others.

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