Biomedical Ethics and the Law: A Critical Perspective

Keith N. Hylton, Boston Univeristy School of Law


This essay critically reviews the theory of biomedical ethics from a law-and-economics perspective. It suggests that the best direction for society is toward greater reliance on property rights and recognized spheres of autonomy, coupled with freedom of contract within specified limits; and that as a result, the role of the biomedical ethicist should be diminished over time rather than enhanced. I consider applications to the duty of beneficence and commerce in body parts.