Principles of Bioethics

Some of the early founders of bioethics put forth four principles which form this framework for moral reasoning. These four principles are:
Autonomy – one should respect the right of individuals to make their own decisions

Nonmaleficence – one should avoid causing harm

Beneficence – one should take positive steps to help others

Justice – benefits and risks should be fairly distributed

One commentator has said, “…the four principles should…be thought of as the four moral nucleotides that constitute moral DNA – capable, alone or in combination, of explaining and justifying all the substantive and universalisable moral norms of health care ethics…”

Interactive tutorial

To view this interactive tutorial, you need the latest Flash player.