Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Miryam Z. Wahrman
Bioethics refers to an interdisciplinary approach used to address quandaries and moral dilemmas that arise from applied biology and medical science. It involves applying societal mores, philosophical principles, religious values, and human judgment to making decisions about human life and death, health and medical treatment, environmental issues, and the relationship of humans to other organisms on our planet. Principles of bioethics arose from secular and religious ethical principles. As medical science and biological technology developed and enabled humans to change their natural environment in dramatic ways, consideration of bioethics principles became more critical to guide applications of the technologies and human behavior. Religious traditions served as the earliest sources to guide individuals and communities in decisions vis-avis medical practice, treatment of animals, and the environment. For instance, Judeo-Christian sources such as the Bible address bioethics issues, including injunctions to heal the sick and prohibitions regarding wanton destruction of property. The ...