Ethics or moral philosophy is the branch of philosophy that concerns itself with the analysis of moral propositions and judgments. Bioethics, a neologism first used in the late 1960s, is currently used to describe two slightly different fields of applied ethics: (1) as a broad term covering the ethics of the life sciences and all their applications, including environmental and animal ethics—this is the common usage in Europe—and (2) as a narrower term covering the ethics of new biotechnological developments and medical/healthcare ethics—this is the common usage in North America. It is the second, narrower, use of the term that is adopted in this entry.

Bioethics differs from traditional medical professional ethics, or medical deontology, in its emphasis on the role of the patient in ...

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