Bioethics – A Branch of Applied Philosophy or a New Social Science Transdisciplinary Nature

Header_16th LUMEN International Conference RETHINKING SOCIAL ACTION. CORE VALUES-RSACVP 2015– Copyright © 2015

FORMAT | Presented paper              

LANGUAGE | English

HOW TO CITE| SANDU, Antonio (2015). Bioethics – A Branch of Applied Philosophy or a New Social Science Transdisciplinary Nature. Prezentată la 6th LUMEN International Conference Rethinking Social Action. Core Values, 16-19 aprilie 2015, Iași, România.

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In the present study we aimed to achieve a clarification of bioethics legitimacy claims and those of applied ethics – to be part of the corpus of knowledge specific to philosophy, in regards of scientific claims raised by a number of bioethicists. Opinions are divided in this regard, thinkers as Julian Savulescu, drawing attention to the importance of philosophy in bioethics debate, while others such as Robert Flllinwide (2008) and Willik Kymlicka (1996) finding that bioethics is a transdisciplinary discourse about self-construction of bioethics as science, which should be detached from philosophical theoretical perspectives as it builds its own objects and epistemic perspective.
Our particular opinion is that applied ethics and bioethics are areas with a predominant transdisciplinary reflection with a philosophical orientation, but which should not ignore the epistemic particularities of the various branches of science or social practice to which it applies. The truly transdisciplinary perspective makes applied ethics to be an area of transparency to knowledge, with openings towards horizon of philosophy, social sciences and the practice. The autonomy of ethics doesn’t separate the bioethics from philosophy but it creates an epistemic horizon with a particular status.
In our view, applied ethics, at least in the area of bioethics and ethics professions maintain a strong philosophical component by constant reference to the great philosophical theories. At the same time, applied ethics gradually shapes its own area of research, by using and customizing tools from the sphere of social sciences research. We draw attention to the distinction between medical ethics, as ethical reflection within the medical area and bioethics, as a philosophical reflection on the development of medicine, and in general of science and its implications for the world of life.


bioethics, philosophy, social sciences, philosophical discourse, deconstruction.