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Global bioethics – myth or reality?

Authors
  • Holm, Søren1, 2
  • Williams-Jones, Bryn3
  • 1 Health and Ethics, Schools of Law and Social Sciences, 53 Park Place, Cardiff University, Cardiff Institute of Society, Cardiff, Wales, CF10 3AT, United Kingdom , Cardiff (United Kingdom)
  • 2 University of Oslo, Section for Medical Ethics, BlindernOslo, N-0318, Norway , BlindernOslo (Norway)
  • 3 Université de Montréal, Groupe de recherche en bioéthique & Département de médicine sociale et préventive, C.P. 6128, succ. centre-ville, Montréal (Québec), H3C 3J7, Canada , Montréal (Québec) (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
BMC Medical Ethics
Publisher
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Sep 11, 2006
Volume
7
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/1472-6939-7-10
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

BackgroundThere has been debate on whether a global or unified field of bioethics exists. If bioethics is a unified global field, or at the very least a closely shared way of thinking, then we should expect bioethicists to behave the same way in their academic activities anywhere in the world. This paper investigates whether there is a 'global bioethics' in the sense of a unified academic community.MethodsTo address this question, we study the web-linking patterns of bioethics institutions, the citation patterns of bioethics papers and the buying patterns of bioethics books.ResultsAll three analyses indicate that there are geographical and institutional differences in the academic behavior of bioethicists and bioethics institutions.ConclusionThese exploratory studies support the position that there is no unified global field of bioethics. This is a problem if the only reason is parochialism. But these regional differences are probably of less concern if one notices that bioethics comes in many not always mutually understandable dialects.

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