Bioethics, a philosophical discipline that aims to connect science, life, and morality, has been focused almost exclusively on recent developments in biomedical sciences—on extreme cases that were, up to now, infeasible and sometimes almost inconceivable. This frontier bioethics concerns, for instance, organ transplantation, genetic therapy, cloning, use of stem cells, preimplantation diagnosis, and transgenic technologies, which lead to unheard-of events and new moral categories.
I uphold the existence of another area of bioethics, less remote from the experience of ordinary people. This type could be called everyday bioethics1 because it concerns the daily persistent conditions of most of the world's population, often difficult and sometimes tragic. If we consider common behaviours and knowledge, even among people who ignore the latest progresses of science, we can state that moral reflections on birth, gender relations, justice and autonomy, disease and health care, the interdependence of species, and death have a very long history—as long as that of humanity. These reflections guide today, wittingly or unwittingly, the decisions of all individuals, social groups, and communities, because "it must be shown that all men are 'philosophers', by defining the limits and characteristics of the 'spontaneous philosophy' which is proper to anybody".2
Both frontier and everyday areas of bioethics deserve equal attention and are closely inter-related. Their intersection could give rise to stimulating philosophical debates, to a better understanding of moral principles, and to coordinated actions. I would like to point out the practical and moral interests of these connections through three examples.
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