Bioethics in historical Perspective. For a Critical Approach to Bioethics and his Relationship to the History of Medicine

Giovanni Maio


What is the history of bioethics? What are the shortcomings of the bioethical approach? And what could the history of medicine do for a better understanding of bioethics as discipline and of bioethical problems themselves? These are the central questions which are stressed in this article. The main conclusion is that bioethics has to be seen as a cultural product which can only be understood if the social context in which this new discipline has emerged is taken into consideration. History of medicine has furthermore the chance to contextualize bioethical problems and in this function history of medicine could be a helpful discipline for a better understanding of current problems in medicine.

Keywords:Bioethics - History of Medicine - Metaethics - Philosofy of Medicine

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