Changing Ethical Frameworks: From Individual Rights to the Common Good?


Whereas in the 1970s early bioethicists believed that bioethics is an arena for the application of philosophical theories of utilitarianism, deontology, and natural law thinking, contemporary policy-oriented bioethicists seem rather to be keen on framing ethical issues through political ideologies. Bioethicists today are often labeled “liberal” or “communitarian,” referring to their different understandings of the relationship between the individual and society. Liberal individualism, with its conceptual base of autonomy, dignity, and privacy, enjoyed a long period of dominance in bioethics, but it has increasingly come under attack from ideologies promoting a more salient role for concepts of solidarity, community, and public interest

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Margit Sutrop
University of Tartu

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