seeable uses compromise the character and basic values of researchers or military users?

• How and to what extent, if any, does a research effort implicate shared ethical or moral concerns of major religious traditions?

4.2.2 Disciplinary Approaches to Ethics

Just as specialization in general areas of science and engineering has become necessary and commonplace, the same is true for ethics. The sources of modern-day ethics continue to evolve, and ethical perspectives are dynamic. For example, new theoretical orientations coming from communitarian ethics raise and address issues for which the moral theories described above are not seen to provide sufficient guidance.4

New subfields of ethics, specializing in practical and professional ethics, are now commonplace and address the issues and problems relevant to a particular area. Included among these subfields are biomedical ethics, engineering ethics, and information technology ethics, among others.

All of these specializations are concerned with examining and assisting in the particularities of moral analysis and decision making that arise in those domains, and sometimes between domains.

Biomedical Ethics

The field of biomedical ethics (bioethics) has developed over several decades and encompasses medical ethics, research ethics, and concerns over the implications of biomedical research. The field is interdisciplinary, and thus its approach to ethics incorporates work from law, medicine, philosophy, theology, and social science. In addition, the field’s boundaries are indistinct and often overlap into medical ethics, research ethics, law, public policy, and philosophy. The field initially focused on the ethics of research with human subjects, but numerous key events in medicine and biomedical research have led to the development of the field’s basic principles.

The initial discussion on the ethics of human subjects research resulted in one of the primary standards of bioethics: informed consent. In 1947, the Nuremberg Trial of Nazi doctors spurred legal discussions of consent and examinations of medical codes of ethics. Although this ruling relied on a standard of informed voluntary consent, it had little initial direct

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4 See http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/communitarianism/.



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