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Concepts of personhood are embedded in a political and cultural context. The persistence of moral conflicts-and advances in biological and clinical sciences accelerate their number-and the difficulties of resolving them reflect features of our political culture. In the extraordinary American tension between individual and public life, controlling the definition of what it is to be a human being becomes a fundamental basis of social and political power. Much is at stake in these persistent conflicts: freedom of individuals; authority of professionals; autonomy of scientists; and even the role of the church.
Author(s): Dorothy Nelkin
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Volume 61, Issue 1 (pages 101–112) Published in 1983
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The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.