Narratives are discursive form which is to narrate the life events in time. Man is a storytelling animal. Human experience is understood, reconstructed and transmitted as a narrative form and we seek the meaning of life from the narrative. Recently, so-called ‘narrativist turn’ has occurred in the many fields of humanities and sociology. The scholars influenced by postmodernism are concerned about narrative, because it represents the concrete aspects of the human life. There has also been growing interest about narrative in medicine to make an approach to the suffering of patients.
Narrative approaches to biomedical ethics have been also well known in the fields of biomedical ethics. It is grounded in the certain assumptions of principlism, which is the dominant paradigm in the fields of biomedical ethics, can not represent and solve the real problems in clinical practice. Narrative approaches to biomedical ethics can be categorized as supplement, method, form, foundation and substitution in view of function and relationship to the principlism.
This paper explores a context of a rise of narrative with a reflection of the success and shortcomings of principlism in biomedical ethics. By careful scrutinization of its method, theoretical framework and potential application to practice, the authors argue that ‘narrative biomedical ethics’ can be useful as an alternative method of biomedical ethics and its education.