Bioethics and the sociology of trust: introduction to the theme

Introduction: We were honored when the editors of Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy invited us to edit a collection of articles on sociology and bioethics. Had this invitation been issued a decade ago, it is likely that we would have collected a number of articles that argued for the inclusion for sociology in the collection of disciplines that make up bioethics. Fortunately, we are now past the point where that argument must be made: for better or for worse, the social sciences are now part of the bioethical enterprise. Of course (as sociologists would predict) the place of social science in bioethics varies by cultural and social context. In the Netherlands and Belgium the creation of “empirical bioethics” has given social science an established voice in the bioethical conversation (Borry et al. 2005; Van der Scheer and Widdershoven 2004). In North America and the UK, social science methods are widely used in bioethics, but social scientists remain, to a certain extent, strangers to the field1 (Hedgecoe 2004; De Vries 2004). ...

Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy, 11(4), 2008: 377-79.

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