chapter  19
13 Pages

NARRATIVE ETHICS, GENE STORIES, AND THE HERMENEUTICS OF CONSENT FORMS

ByLarry R. Churchill

Over the past two decades, the role and status of literary concepts and perspectives in bioethics has flourished and blossomed. In 1980, a few bioethicists were using literature as an interesting way to supplement standard ethical analysis in teaching health science students. But only a fraction of this minority were engaged in a methodological rethinking of the field of bioethics in the light of literature’s contributions to understanding the dynamics of human moral experience. Today no one can ignore the importance of literary skills for bioethics or the challenge literary scholars make to philosophy’s historical claim to hegemony over ethics more generally. Narrative ethics I understand as a term intended in part to capture the contributions that literary methods and perspectives can makenot just to the task of teaching bioethics-but to the tools practitioners bring to the discipline itself.