Gender context of personalism in bioethics

Developing World Bioethics 11 (3):136-145 (2011)
Abstract
Personalism is one of the philosophical perspectives which hold that the reality in person and the human person has the highest intrinsic value. This paper makes reference to Louis Janssens' eight criteria in adequate consideration of the human person but further argues that there is need to consider people as situated agents especially within gender relational perspectives. The paper identifies gender as an important social construction that shapes the consideration of the human persons within socio-spatial spheres. The main crux of the paper is that there is a gender context of personalism and this has profound implications for bioethical agendas. Gender is part of the human condition, especially when we philosophically or sociologically engage the notion of equity and equality within the social system, because social realities in the relational perspective are not impartial, impersonal and equal. Gender does not determine morality but it plays a role in morality and expectations from moral agents. Women have been categorised as a sociological group because their integrity, freedom/autonomy and dignity (which are basic concerns of bioethics) are capable of being threatened. A gender perspective provides important incentives for moral theory which searches for possible conceptual imbalances or blind spots in ethical reflections. The paper refers to Sen's faces of gender inequality and expands on the notion that natality inequality is one of the fundamental levels of gender inequality, which in turn is the primary starting agenda in bioethics. The paper avers that the recognition of the fundamental importance of gender to the organization of social reality and the development of personal identities have important practical implications for bioethics
Keywords personalism  gender  bioethics
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