oa South African Journal of Bioethics and Law - Moral principlism alone is insufficient, and traditional moral theories remain important for practical ethics

Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1999-7639



Bioethics is a new discipline that arose out of a general revulsion for the events of the Holocaust and concerns about the unique dilemmas created by the rapid progress of modern knowledge. The four principles approach to medical ethics has been widely adopted as a basis for ethical decision-making in clinical practice. Although the four principles have succeeded in raising general awareness of biomedical ethics, there are several problems with principlism. This review discusses the criticisms of the four principles and attempts to provide an integrated approach to ethics based on the character of the moral agent.

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