David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (1):93-103 (2013)
Bioethics laws in France have just undergone a revision process. The bioethics debate is often cast in terms of ethical principles and norms resisting emerging social and technological practices. This leads to the expression of confrontational attitudes based on widely differing interpretations of the same principles and values, and ultimately results in a deadlock. In this paper I would like to argue that focusing on values, as opposed to norms and principles, provides an interesting perspective on the evolution of norms. As Joseph Raz has convincingly argued, “life-building” values and practices are closely intertwined. Precisely because values have a more indeterminate meaning than norms, they can be cited as reasons for action by concerned stakeholders, and thus can help us understand how controversial practices, e.g. surrogate motherhood, can be justified. Finally, norms evolve when the interpretations of the relevant values shift and cause a change in the presumptions implicit in the norms. Thus, norms are not a prerequisite of the ethical solution of practical dilemmas, but rather the outcome of the decision-making process itself. Struggling to reach the right decision in controversial clinical ethics situations indirectly causes social and moral values to change and principles to be understood differently
|Keywords||Bioethics norms Values Practice Presumption Interpretation Clinical ethics Bioethics debate France Dignity Living organ donation|
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