Reproductive Technologies Confront Traditional Ethics: The Capacity of Richard A. Mccormick's Reformulated Natural Law Ethic to Meet the Challenge

Dissertation, The University of Chicago (2002)

Given modern technology's penetration of human behavior, it is reasonable to consider what this might mean ethically in the case of emerging technologies being used in association with human reproduction. The nature and reach of these technologies are unprecedented and can legitimately be said to pose serious challenges to traditional ethical assessments of the human good. ;In addressing these challenges, Richard A. McCormick, a moral theologian and bio-ethicist, has deployed a reformulated natural law ethic that derives from formal rather than material norms and expresses itself, in particular, in terms of an evolving theological tradition, at the center of which is the whole person morally engaged in an unfolding world by means of proportionate reason. ;While McCormick acknowledges the impressive achievements of modern technology, he asserts that technological advance is more frequently than not ambiguous. Despite this, he also insists that God has committed the natural order to humans as intelligent and creative persons, thus enabling human potentialities by means of their innovative technologies. ;As McCormick views the unfolding of technology in the arena of human reproduction, he insists on focusing on future possibilities and directions in the aggregate and in the light of our overall convictions about what it means to be human. Otherwise there is the danger of identifying what is humanly and morally good with what is technologically possible. ;While this agenda goes some way to addressing the ethical challenges in emerging human reproductive technologies, it is hampered in McCormick's case by an incomplete understanding of the nature of technology and the relationship between modern science and modern technology . Adding to this limitation is the absence of an analytic method for relating various aspects of his ethical and scientific thought. ;Drawing upon the thinking of philosophers like Martin Heidegger and Jose Ortega y Gasset, theologian/scientists like Arthur Peacocke, and scientists like Jacques Monod, this study shows how a "thicker" understanding of technology and a method of assessing the moral basis of modern science from within can enrich McCormick's natural law ethic and avoid the possibility of undue theological rigidity to which it is otherwise liable
Keywords Heidegger, Martin  Natural Law  Ortega y Gasset, José  Peacocke, Arthur  Monod, Jacques  McCormick, Richard A.  Reproductive Ethics
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 40,000
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Ethical and Religious Challenges of Reproductive Technology.Richard A. Mccormick - 1999 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 8 (4):547-556.
Richard McCormick and Proportionate Reason.Sanford S. Levy - 1985 - Journal of Religious Ethics 13 (2):258 - 278.
Moral Epistemology in Richard McCormick's Ethics.J. B. Tubbs - 1996 - Christian Bioethics 2 (1):114-126.
Richard McCormick, SJ, and Dual Epistemology.P. A. Clark - 2008 - Christian Bioethics 14 (3):236-271.
Lao-Zhuang and Heidegger on Nature and Technology.Graham Parkes - 2003 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 30 (1):19–38.
Philosophical Aspects of Dual Use Technologies.Svitlana V. Pustovit & Erin D. Williams - 2010 - Science and Engineering Ethics 16 (1):17-31.
On McCormick and Teleological Morality.Frederick S. Carney - 1978 - Journal of Religious Ethics 6 (1):81 - 107.


Added to PP index

Total views

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes

Sign in to use this feature