Article

Neither Convention nor Constitution--what the debate on stem cell research tells us about the status of the common European ethics.

Rice University, Houston, Texas, United States
Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (Impact Factor: 0.79). 11/2004; 29(5):499-508. DOI: 10.1080/03605310490518078
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: The possibility of content-full, universal, bioethical norms is assessed. The literature brings into question a global bioethics. A salient moral and bioethical pluralism undermines the plausibility of imposing of uniform bioethical norms on critical care. Addressing the tension between the aspiration to a global bioethics and the presence of moral pluralism is timely, given the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's development of universal, bioethical norms. The practice of critical care in the 21st century will be influenced by the tension between bioethical pluralism and counter-assertions on behalf of a global bioethics. A growing literature reflects a bioethical pluralism with significant implications for critical care. Much of the literature supporting pluralism is rooted in a reaction in the Pacific Rim against North American and Western European moral and philosophical commitments. These voices of moral dissent join an already salient moral diversity in the West regarding issues ranging from abortion to end-of-life decision-making, physician-assisted suicide, and euthanasia, as well as conflicting understandings of the bioethics of appropriate approaches to the allocation of scarce medical resources. This literature acknowledging bioethical diversity contrasts with announcements of universal bioethical norms. Clinicians need to appreciate the sources of moral controversy that divide them from their patients and from their colleagues and to recognize that moral and economic differences may lead to different standards of care. Taking bioethical diversity seriously supports focusing on procedural moral approaches that allow peaceable collaboration in the face of substantive moral disagreement.
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