Our present concern with ethics distinguishes this age from others. (Davis, 1999, p. 3)
Many commentators have noted the recent growth of interest in ethics in the western world. Numerous factors have contributed to this, including: developments in biomedical science (especially genetics), leading to a questioning of the nature and value of human life and personal identity; a growing awareness of human-induced ecological changes and their interrelationship with global business interests; and increasing publicity given to ‘scandals’ surrounding senior figures in public life. According to Davis (1999, p. 20): ‘the ethics boom is primarily a boom in “professional ethics” and other forms of “applied” (or “practical”) ethics’.