Theory and the organic bioethicist

T. Chambers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article argues for the importance of theoretical reflections that originate from patients' experiences. Traditionally academic philosophers have linked their ability to theorize about the moral basis of medical practice to their role as outside observer. The author contends that recently a new type of reflection has come from within particular patient populations. Drawing upon a distinction created by Antonio Gramsci, it is argued that one can distinguish the theory generated by traditional bioethicists, who are academically trained, from that of "organic" bioethicists, who identify themselves with a particular patient community. The characteristics of this new type of bioethicist that are explored in this article include a close association of memoir and philosophy, an interrelationship of theory and praxis, and an intimate connection between the individual and a particular patient community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-134
Number of pages12
JournalTheoretical Medicine and Bioethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Bioethicists
  • Narrative
  • Political activism
  • Social movements
  • Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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