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Bioethics and imagination: towards a narrative bioethics committed to social action and justice
  1. Camilo Hernán Manchola Castillo1,
  2. Jan Helge Solbakk2
  1. 1 UNESCO Chair of Bioethics, University of Brasilia, Brasília, DF, Brazil
  2. 2 Faculty of Medicine, Center for Medical Ethics, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to
    Camilo Hernán Manchola Castillo, UNESCO Chair of Bioethics, University of Brasilia, PO Box 04451, Brasília, DF 70919-970, Brazil; camilomanchola{at}


Recently, the involvement of various authors coming from the social sciences and the arts has reinforced the humanistic component of bioethics. Their contributions vary from very theoretical perspectives to rather practical ones. In this paper, Martha Nussbaum's books, The Fragility of Goodness (1986), Love's Knowledge (1990), Cultivating Humanity (1997) and Creating Capabilities (2011) are analysed from the vantage point of narrative bioethics. It is argued that Nussbaum's notions of ‘Narrative’, ‘Imagination’ and ‘Cultivation’ open up the possibility of developing an action-oriented form of narrative bioethics, that is, a bioethics committed to social action and justice.

  • Social science

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.