Human dignity and human tissue: a meaningful ethical relationship?

Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (9):552-556 (2011)
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Abstract

Human dignity has long been used as a foundational principle in policy documents and ethical guidelines intended to govern various forms of biomedical research. Despite the vast amount of literature concerning human dignity and embryonic tissues, the majority of biomedical research uses non-embryonic human tissue. Therefore, this contribution addresses a notable lacuna in the literature: the relationship, if any, between human dignity and human tissue. This paper first elaborates a multidimensional understanding of human dignity that overcomes many of the shortcomings associated with the use of human dignity in other ethical debates. Second, it discusses the relationship between such an understanding of human dignity and ‘non-embryonic’ human tissue. Finally, it considers the implications of this relationship for biomedical research and practice involving human tissue. The contribution demonstrates that while human tissue cannot be said to have human dignity, human dignity is nevertheless implicated by human tissue, making what is done with human tissue and how it is done worthy of moral consideration

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Author's Profile

David Kirchhoffer
Australian Catholic University

Citations of this work

Defining Dignity and Its Place in Human Rights.Lucy Michael - 2014 - The New Bioethics 20 (1):12-34.
Organs as inheritable property?Teck Chuan Voo & Soren Holm - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (1):57-61.
Human dignity and consent in research biobanking.D. G. Kirchhoffer & K. Dierickx - 2012 - South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 5 (2):74--77.

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The Community of Rights.Alan Gewirth - 1997 - Philosophy 72 (282):609-612.
The Community of Rights.Alan Gewirth - 1999 - Philosophical Quarterly 49 (195):250-252.

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