View the Second

By Fox, Daniel M. | The Hastings Center Report, November-December 1993 | Go to article overview

View the Second


Fox, Daniel M., The Hastings Center Report


David Fox, a founder of the Society for Health and Human Values, has been a careful observer of the development of bioethics.

My chores are these: first, to sketch the six models of history that have been invoked at this celebration. Second, to demonstrate that these models are also useful for understanding another area of our public life that has many similarities with the bioethics movement. And third, I will end by suggesting a new and I think a higher criterion for a theory to explain historical events than most people are familiar with. It is a criterion that looks forward as well as backward.

The six models that I heard were these: one, bioethics has been the soft side of the golden age of medicine, of the expansion of medical power. It's been the conscience, the sensitive side, during a period in which we medicalized practically everything.

Within this broad medicalization of American society, bioethics embraced and brought to bear on medicine the great traditions of moral philosophy, the immediate pressures of civil rights, and concern for minorities of all kinds. And indeed, bioethics also gave the medical profession a wonderful and new set of tools with which to regulate the bad apples, the people within medicine who were behaving in ways inconsistent with the medicalization of practically everything during that wonderful golden age.

The second model is bioethics as a response to technology, to vast elaborations of complexity in diagnostics, in treatment, and in research. In this interpretation of the history of bioethics, technology is a source of problems. There are two variants: one is that technology is a source of problems to be either anticipated or managed. The other is that technology exemplifies the need for a counterreformation in medical thinking or for a restoration to an earlier time.

The third historical explanation, the third model, draws heavily on the tradition of the political economy in our thought. It's the explanation that tries to look at the history of bioethics in terms of supply and demand--supply of what bioethicists could do and a demand for it. There's a political economy of the right and the left, of course. From the right this model emphasizes markets and medicine as a commodity. From the left it emphasizes exactly the same things, but talks more about classes, about the interesting ways in which we observe not whether each of our colleagues has a price, but what it is.

The fourth explanation is what I call the model of great people and great events. Women and men make history. We certainly began that way, as Shana Alexander and Judith Swazey have told us about the Seattle experience.

The fifth model is that the history of bioethics is an assertion of a great cultural tradition during a time of grave and deepening moral crisis for our society.

And the final model, which the people who drifted toward it would probably not identify as a model, is the one that most of us really secretly believe. This is the model that says history is one damned thing after another.

Now let me put this another way and look outward from medicine as I move to the second part of my chore, which is making what to some of you may be an odious, and to others an uncomfortable, and I hope for all of you a provocative comparison: since 1945 the only arena of public concern that absorbed more attention than health care (though not as many of the resources of our society) was the conflict with the Soviet Union and the nuclear arms race. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

View the Second
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.