Part I: Placing Bioethics Historically

Bioethical Issues, Sociological Perspectives

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1438-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-501-7

ISSN: 1057-6290

Publication date: 1 January 2007


Like all tribes, bioethics has its own origin myths. According to these myths, bioethics emerged in the latter half of the twentieth century when new technologies and scientific developments challenged the norms that had traditionally governed clinical practice. Theologians, philosophers, clergy, judges, lawyers, journalists and ordinary people – the “strangers at the bedside” in David J. Rothman's memorable phrasing – began to take an interest in moral matters that previously had been the realm of physicians alone. Codes of research ethics were formulated in response to the Nazi atrocities; hospital ethics committees were established in sensitivity to the emerging notion of “patients’ rights.” Bioethics was born.


Mitchell Armstrong, E. (2007), "Part I: Placing Bioethics Historically", Katz Rothman, B., Mitchell Armstrong, E. and Tiger, R. (Ed.) Bioethical Issues, Sociological Perspectives (Advances in Medical Sociology, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-7.

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