When the universal is particular: a re-examination of the common morality using the work of Charles Taylor

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 25 (1):141-151 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Beauchamp and Childress’ biomedical principlism is nearly synonymous with medical ethics for most clinicians. Their four principles are theoretically derived from the “common morality”, a universal cache of moral beliefs and claims shared by all morally serious humans. Others have challenged the viability of the common morality, but none have attempted to explain why the common morality makes intuitive sense to Western ethicists. Here I use the work of Charles Taylor to trace how events in the Western history of ideas made the common morality seem plausible and yet, ironically, underscore the cultural particularity of the so-called common morality. I conclude that the supposedly universal common morality is actually quite culturally contained. Importantly, this should give us pause about the global authority of principlism and Beauchamp and Childress’ claim to a global bioethics project.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,642

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Authority of the Common Morality.Griffin Trotter - 2020 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45 (4-5):427-440.
Common morality: Comment on Beauchamp and Childress.Oliver Rauprich - 2008 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 29 (1):43-71.
The hedgehog and the Borg: Common morality in bioethics.John D. Arras - 2009 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 30 (1):11-30.
A Chinese perspective on the concept of common morality by Beauchamp and Childress.Yanguang Wang - 2017 - Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 27 (4):132-134.
Common morality and medical ethics: not so different after all.Ruth Macklin - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (12):780-781.


Added to PP

4 (#1,644,260)

6 months
9 (#355,374)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Principles of biomedical ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by James F. Childress.
Sources of the self: the making of the modern identity.Charles Taylor - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity.Charles Taylor - 1989 - Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press.

View all 25 references / Add more references