Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 33 (1):97-105 (2012)

Given intractable moral pluralism, what ought one to make of the bioethics that arose in the early 1970s, grounded as it was in the false assumption that there is a common secular morality that secular bioethics ought to apply? It is as if bioethics developed without recognition of the crisis at the heart of secular morality itself. Secular moral rationality cannot of itself provide the foundations to identify a particular morality and its bioethics as canonical. One is not just confronted with intractable moral and bioethical pluralism, but with the absence of a secular ground that can show why one should act morally rather than self-interestedly. The result is not merely the deflation of much of traditional Western morality to life-style and death-style choices, but the threat of deflating to political slogans the now-dominant secular morality, including its affirmation of human autonomy, equality, social justice, and human dignity. All of this invites one critically to reconsider the meaning and force of secular bioethics.
Keywords Bioethics  Post-modernism  Moral pluralism  Post-traditional culture
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DOI 10.1007/s11017-011-9204-y
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Does Ethical Theory Have a Future in Bioethics?Tom L. Beauchamp - 2004 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 32 (2):209-217.
Bioethics and Deliberative Democracy: Five Warnings From Hobbes.Griffin Trotter - 2006 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 31 (3):235 – 250.
Bioethics as Public Discourse and Second-Order Discipline.L. M. Kopelman - 2009 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 34 (3):261-273.

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