A Defense of Universal Principles in Biomedical Ethics

  • Tom L. BeauchampEmail author
Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 78)


The four principles of biomedical ethics are widely used in the world for bioethical deliberation. These theoretical guides are useful for the analysis and resolution of particularly complex ethical controversies arising in clinical and biomedical fields. This chapter develops an analysis of the basic universal principles, the common universal morality, and some characteristics of each principle. Then it discusses some problems posed by critics who have provided alternative frameworks of principles that are nonuniversal. Finally, it shows how universal moral principles are connected to human rights, how rules and rights are specified to become detailed and practical for certain moralities, and how these ideas are connected with problems of justification in bioethics and biolaw.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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