The international growth and influence of bioethics has led some to identify it as a decisive shift in the location and exercise of 'biopower'. This book provides an in-depth study of how philosophers, lawyers and other 'outsiders' came to play a major role in discussing and helping to regulate issues that used to be left to doctors and scientists. It discusses how club regulation stemmed not only from the professionalising tactics of doctors and scientists, but was compounded by the 'hands-off' approach of politicians and professionals in fields such as law, philosophy and theology. The book outlines how theologians such as Ian Ramsey argued that 'transdisciplinary groups' were needed to meet the challenges posed by secular and increasingly pluralistic societies. It also examines their links with influential figures in the early history of American bioethics. The book centres on the work of the academic lawyer Ian Kennedy, who was the most high-profile advocate of the approach he explicitly termed 'bioethics'. It shows how Mary Warnock echoed governmental calls for external oversight. Many clinicians and researchers supported her calls for a 'monitoring body' to scrutinise in vitro fertilisation and embryo research. The growth of bioethics in British universities occurred in the 1980s and 1990s with the emergence of dedicated centres for bioethics. The book details how some senior doctors and bioethicists led calls for a politically-funded national bioethics committee during the 1980s. It details how recent debates on assisted dying highlight the authority and influence of British bioethicists.

Mary Warnock, embryos and moral expertise

4 ‘Where to draw the line?’ Mary Warnock, embryos and moral expertise The political enthusiasm for external oversight was made clear in 1982 when officials at the DHSS broke from the longstanding reliance on scientific and medical expertise and prioritised ‘an outside chairman’ for their public inquiry into IVF and embryo experiments. After a brief discussion about possible chairs, politicians chose the moral philosopher Mary Warnock to chair an inquiry in which, for the first time, individuals from other professions outnumbered doctors and scientists. Warnock’s

in The making of British bioethics
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Conclusion While she became associated with British bioethics following her engagement with IVF and embryo research in the 1980s, Mary Warnock is better known today for her views on euthanasia.1 Warnock first engaged with this issue in 1993, when she was appointed to a House of Lords Select Committee that investigated whether there were circumstances in which ‘assisted dying’ might be permissible, when a doctor would not be prosecuted for ending a patient’s life or helping them end their own lives. After deliberating for a year, Warnock and her fellow committee

in The making of British bioethics
Open Access (free)

figures within a short space of time: chairing public inquiries and regulatory committees, occupying seats in the House of Lords, appearing regularly in the media and receiving knighthoods for ‘services to bioethics’.54 This status and authority was captured by a 1994 Sunday Telegraph profile of the philosopher Mary Warnock, who became ‘synonymous with British bioethics’ following her spell as chair of a public inquiry into IVF and embryo research between 1982 and 1984.55 Published to mark Warnock’s retirement as mistress of Girton College, Cambridge, the Telegraph

in The making of British bioethics
The emergence of bioethics in British universities

philosophy ‘should be proportionate to the cuts suffered by other disciplines’.80 To support their argument, the NCP framed philosophy as an increasingly practical discipline, with growing numbers of philosophers now ‘applying their insights to other disciplines, and to the philosophical and ethical problems of everyday life’.81 At the same time, A. J. Ayer and Mary Warnock publicly asserted that philosophy was vital to maintaining a society that valued reasoned debate, analytical rigour and intellectual originality, and protested that the government and the UGC’s ‘new

in The making of British bioethics
A national ethics committee and bioethics during the 1990s

-­governmental organization’.57 No politician, tellingly, spoke in favour of the current ethical and regulatory framework. Supporters of a national committee found a high-profile ally in Mary Warnock, who claimed that public interest in ‘a growing number of topics’ such as gene therapy and embryo research justified the formation of ‘a permanent royal commission with a rolling membership’.58 Writing in the British Medical Journal, Warnock endorsed a national committee that resembled the ‘monitoring body’ her committee had proposed for IVF and embryo experiments. She argued that it would

in The making of British bioethics

plans for special educational provision directly on that report. In their 1978 Report, Mary Warnock and her colleagues referred to the Isle of Wight study as ‘the most detailed study of the incidence of intellectual and educational retardation, psychiatric disorder and physical handicap’ ever conducted. 58 The study sparked a number of later

in The metamorphosis of autism
Ian Kennedy, oversight and accountability in the 1980s

. It also included a detailed bibliography ‘to show how wide is the range of materials which someone entering into this area of study needs to cover’.108 This included books by Illich, McKeown and Szasz, by bioethicists such as Ramsey and Katz, and by practically minded philosophers such as Mary Warnock and Peter Singer. Kennedy then defined precisely what this ‘area of study’ entailed and firmly aligned his Reith Lectures with the approach he encountered in the United States. ‘Fundamentally’, he stated, ‘it is the study of the practice of medicine today.’ But this

in The making of British bioethics
The origins and endurance of club regulation

identity as a philosopher, but his declared philosophical position was that philosophy could have little to say on issues that were of public interest’.113 Ayer made this clear in his 1965 Philosophical Essays, when he stated that ‘to analyse moral judgements is not itself to moralise’ and warned that members of the public would be disappointed if ‘they mistakenly look to the philosopher as a champion of virtue’.114 Over fifty years after Principia Ethica had been published, Ayer ensured that this austere view of ethics remained paradigmatic. As Mary Warnock outlined in

in The making of British bioethics