Pragmatism in Latin America

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Sir

The coverage of the current bioethics momentum as presented in Nature 389, 658–663 (1997) is both enlightening and timely. There is, however, no reference to Latin America, which has rather belatedly taken account of bioethics, mostly in the form of ‘solutions’ to dilemmas arising in more mature scientific traditions. But some forms of bioethical reflection and teaching can be found in many Latin American countries, particularly Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico.

For example, a master's degree programme is offered by the University of Chile with the collaboration of the Program on Bioethics of the Pan-American Health Organization established in Santiago de Chile in 1993. There are similar programmes in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.

Like other countries, those in Latin America are confronted with the task of incorporating into local practices the pragmatism embodied in the bioethical enterprise in the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as of adapting it to their particular cultural idiosyncracies.

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