The Essential Roles of Ethics, Humanity and Social Justice in Any Future Worth Living

Andrew Dutney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


As the COVID-19 pandemic shattered assumptions about what is “normal”, minds have turned to the future and what a “new normal” could and should look like. This is an inherently ethical exercise. The succession of case studies in human diversity delivered by the pandemic has challenged the universalising tendencies of traditional ethics and ethical authorities, accelerating the shift towards ethical naturalism. It disrupted the field of bioethics in particular, where deontological and principle-ist alternatives have continued to be favoured. The pandemic forced a more naturalistic approach to moral decision-making in clinical settings. At the same time, however, it drew attention to the wider socio-economic and environmental context and its relevance to the clinical situation. In this way the pandemic led to a recovery of the broader understanding of “bioethics” as intended when the term was coined. In this way the pandemic has delivered a creative moment in which diverse coalitions of scholars, practitioners and stakeholders have begun to engage in a new, multi-faceted science of bioethics, which identifies “Survival as a Goal for Wisdom”.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShaping Wise Futures
Subtitle of host publicationA Shared Responsibility
EditorsJoy Higgs, Janice Orrell, Diane Tasker, Narelle Patton
Place of PublicationThe Netherlands
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9789004505544
ISBN (Print)9789004505537 , 9789004505520
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2021

Publication series

NamePractice Futures
ISSN (Print)2665-9263


  • Ethics
  • Bioethics
  • Naturalism
  • COVID-19 pandemic


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