ABSTRACT

Bioethics Bioethics as a fi eld has evolved from two separate disciplines: medical ethics and moral philosophy. Concern for ethics in terms of patient welfare fi rst appeared in the form of the Hippocratic oath, while moral philosophers have come to refl ect on dilemmas faced by modern society alongside more abstract meta-ethics (Harris 2001: 1-2). Bioethics is now seen to cover a wide range of issues, including genetics, reproductive technologies and biomedical research. John Harris (ibid: 4) gives a succinct defi nition in his introduction to Bioethics, part of the Oxford Readings in Philosophy series: ‘In short, bioethics investigates ethical issues arising in the life sciences (medicine, health care, genetics, biology, research, etc) by applying the principles and methods of moral philosophy to these problems.’