The growth of scientific knowledge and technical ability in medicine, genetics and the biological sciences has led to a number of ethical dilemmas which perplex all of us, but especially those in the health care field. Does the fact that we can prolong the life of a patient in a permanent vegetative state mean that we should do so? Is destructive embryo experimentation justified by the prospect it offers of alleviating infertility? Should research designed to find 'gay genes' be conducted given that the results of such work might be used against homosexual people? Should we proceed with research trying to clone people? These and many other questions raise complex ethical and legal issues. The study, discussion and teaching of these issues has come to be known as bioethics - a field generally defined as covering the ethical issues raised by medicine, genetics and the biomedical sciences.
The Centre for Human BioethicsCentre for Human Bioethics (http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/bioethics/) has academic strengths in the areas of:
- biosecurity and bioterrorism
- ethical issues in patient care, especially involving autonomy and confidentiality
- ethics and genetics
- ethics and infectious disease
- feminist philosophy
- medical end-of-life decisions
- moral psychology and moral development
- reproductive ethics
- surveillance ethics
- the ethics of clinician accountability.
The centre's research also has a strong emphasis on ethical theory, especially virtue ethics and consequentialism, the relevance of emotions to ethics, partiality and impartiality in ethics, feminist ethics, and applied ethics and moral philosophy.