Hrvoje Jurić

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Regardless of the still persistent tendencies to narrow the concept of bioethics down to (bio)medical or even clinical bioethics, it is clear that today’s bioethics integrates discussions of a much wider range of issues – from bio-medical to global-ecological. The broadening of the field of bioethics is the result of the insight that the issues of the techno-scientific era humanity faces are interwoven with the issues that regard other living beings and nature as a whole. This insight into the interweavement of the issues involved (and the interweavement of the relationships themselves within the living world) has brought about the networking of various sciences, professions and non-scientific views, which we know under the names of multi-, inter- and trans-disciplinarity, and pluriperspectivism. However, bioethics should not be satisfied with a mere mechanical gathering of various disciplinal views and worldviews, but should aspire after real integration, the shaping of a unified platform for discussion of the ethical problems regarding life in all its forms, shapes, degrees, stages and manifestations. Developing the starting premises of this platform is the task of “integrative bioethics”. In order to do so, taking account of the work of Van Rensselaer Potter cannot be avoided, since his idea of bioethics and the development of his bioethical thought extensively coincide with what bioethics generally means, as well as with its historical transformations: from the moment he coined the term ‘bioethics’, through having founded so-called “bridge bioethics” to the reformulation and expansion of the contents of bioethics into so-called “global bioethics”. The aim of this paper is to examine the extent to which Potter’s work can serve as a stimulus and be the foothold of the goal to establish bioethics as integrative bioethics.

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