Naturalness and Artificiality in Bioethics

In S. Schleidgen (ed.), Human Nature and Self Design. Mentis (2012)
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Abstract

I emphasize the difference between bioethics and sciences that are relevant to bioethics on the one hand and the lifeworld on the other hand, to which problems of bioethics apply. The difference between types of experience in the scientific realm and in the lifeworld is reflected by the different definitions of nature they tend to favor. Against this background, I will claim that the object domains of the natural and the artificial are indeed better separated in the context of everyday perception than is commonly assumed in academic discourse. This capacity for differentiation in everyday contexts makes it possible to give weight to the positive connotations of naturalness used against technological interference in nature in the lifeworld discourse. I will start with some preliminary terminological and historical remarks. Then I will turn to possible scientific ways of separating the domains of the natural and the artificial. In everyday practice they usually can be neither reproduced nor understood. This situation has contributed to the need for an explanation of the moral appeal to naturalness that one encounters in the lifeworld. After a discussion of explanations that are given in the bioethical discourse, I will propose a lifeworld concept that allows for the use of a fundamental boundary between the natural and the artificial.

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Gregor Schiemann
University of Wuppertal

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