oa South African Journal of Bioethics and Law - Through the looking glass : editorial



Bioethics as we know it today began about a decade and half after the end of World War II as a loosely defined movement to 'humanise' medical education and practice, in which there was an over-emphasis on technological and scientific progress. The goal was to cushion the powerful leaning towards specialisation and science that had started to dominate the education of health practitioners and simultaneously maintain equilibrium between these developments and human values. The objective of bioethics at that time was the ideal of the scientifically competent yet humanistically responsive practitioner. The fervent application of scientific medicine and the specialisation it required was viewed, and correctly so, as deleterious to the human dimensions of medical education and care. What was required was an antidote - and in this way the infusion of human values and the humanities in health sciences education was conceived.


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