The Hastings Center and the Early Years of Bioethics

Daniel Callahan

in The Roots of Bioethics

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199931378
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980598 | DOI:
The Hastings Center and the Early Years of Bioethics

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The Hastings Center was founded in 1969 to study ethical problems in medicine and biology. It was the first formal institution in the world established to pursue those issues. We had not only to help invent a new field but to learn how to raise money for a field then unknown, and to run such an organization without any models from which to draw guidance. The Center arose from a confluence of three social currents: (1) the increased public scrutiny of medicine and its practices, (2) the concern about moral problems being generated by technologic developments, and (3) the desire of one of its founders (Callahan) to make use of his philosophical training in a more applied way. The early years of the Center were devoted to raising money, developing an early agenda of issues, and identifying a cadre of people around the country interested in these issues. Various stresses and strains in the Center and the field are identified, and some final reflections are offered on the nature and value of the contributions made by bioethics as an academic field.

Keywords: bioethics history; Hastings Center; Callahan; Gaylin; medicine

Chapter.  8154 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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