Bioethical pluralism and complementarity

Frederick Grinnell, Jeffrey P. Bishop, Laurence B. McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This essay presents complementarity as a novel feature of bioethical pluralism. First introduced by Neils Bohr in conjunction with quantum physics, complementarity in bioethics occurs when different perspectives account for equally important features of a situation but are mutually exclusive. Unlike conventional approaches to bioethical pluralism, which attempt in one fashion or another to isolate and choose between different perspectives, complementarity accepts all perspectives.As a result, complementarity results in a state of holistic, dynamic tension, rather than one that yields singular or final moral judgments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-349
Number of pages12
JournalPerspectives in biology and medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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