Forty Years Later: The Scope of Bioethics Revisited

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 53 (3):452-457 (2010)
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Van Rensselaer Potter was an American biochemist who worked in the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 1970, in an article in this journal, Potter coined the term bioethics to combine a new discipline that combines biological knowledge with ethics. Potter wrote, “Ethical values cannot be separated from biological facts” (p. 127). His conception was broad-ranging: “We are in great need of a land ethic, a wild-life ethic, a population ethic, a consumption ethic, an urban ethic, an international ethic, a geriatric ethic, and so on. All of these problems call for actions that are based on values and biological facts. All of them involve bioethics, and survival of the ..



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Lainie Ross
University of Chicago

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