Ethics Education Needs More than the Four Principles: Bioethics Discourse in a Community of Inquiry

  • Leonardo D. de CastroEmail author
  • Isidro Manuel C. Valero
Part of the Advancing Global Bioethics book series (AGBIO, volume 10)


This essay reexamines the four-principle approach to biomedical ethics in the context of ethics education in general and in relation to possible ethics discourse within a community of inquiry in particular. A community of inquiry is the setting for learning and education in philosophy for children. This community enables children to acquire critical thinking and other skills as part of democratic education. The use (or misuse) of the four principles approach tends to contribute to a practice that limits critical thinking skills because of the constraints on the conceptual tools that tend to be used. It has also had the effect of promoting conceptual ambiguity by encouraging the use of limited conceptual molds, thus giving rise to the possibility of multiple interpretations among diverse users, especially in the field of global bioethics. While recognizing the continuing appeal of the approach as a conceptual tool for ethical decision-making the essay brings out the limitations that need to be overcome in order to promote the clarity that the four principles approach is meant to possess.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonardo D. de Castro
    • 1
    Email author
  • Isidro Manuel C. Valero
    • 1
  1. 1.University of the Philippines, DilimanQuezon CityPhilippines

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