PHI-413V Biomedical Ethics in The Christian Narrative

Get PHI-413V Biomedical Ethics in The Christian Narrative essay assignment help

PHI-413V Biomedical Ethics in The Christian Narrative essay assignment

Introduction

The reality of religious pluralism (the view that there are many different religions with different teachings) does not logically imply any sort of religious relativism (the view that there is no such thing as truth, or that everything is a matter of opinion). There are genuine distinctions between religions and worldviews. Given this fact, it is imperative that one be tolerant of differences and engage civilly with those of different religions or worldviews. It might be tempting to think that one is being tolerant or civil by simply rolling all religions into one sort of generic “spirituality” and to claim that all religions are essentially the same. But this is simply false. Once again, there are genuine and important differences among religions; these differences are meaningful to the followers of a particular faith. To simply talk of some sort of a generic “spirituality,” while maybe properly descriptive of some, does not accurately describe most of the religious people in the world. Furthermore, this terminology often reduces religion to a mere personal or cultural preference, and it ignores the distinctions and particularity of each. The point is that such a reductionism is not respectful of patients. It should also be noted that atheism or secularism are not simply default or perfectly objective (or supposedly scientific) starting positions, while religious perspectives are somehow hopelessly biased. Every religion or worldview brings with it a set of assumptions about the nature of reality; whether or not a particular view should be favored depends upon whether or not it is considered true and explains well one’s experience of reality.

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Biomedical Ethics

Bioethics is a subfield of ethics that concerns the ethics of medicine and ethical issues in the life sciences raised by the advance of technology. The issues dealt with tend to be complex and controversial (i.e., abortion, stem cell research, euthanasia, etc.). In addition, bioethics usually also involves questions of public policy and social justice. As such, the complexities of bioethical discussion in a pluralistic society are compounded. There have been several different approaches to bioethical questions put forth that have to do with the theory behind ethical decision making. Three positions have been prominent in the discussion principalism (also known as the four-principle approach), virtue ethics, and casuistry.  For this lecture, it will be useful to outline principalism and to describe the general contours of a Christian approach to bioethical issues.

Principalism is often referred to as the “four-principle approach” because of its view that there are four ethical principles that are the frame work of bioethics. These four principles are the following, as spelled out by Tom L. Beauchamp and David DeGrazia (2004):

1.      Respect for autonomy − A principle that requires respect for the decision-making capacities of autonomous persons.

2.      Nonmaleficence − A principle requiring that people not cause harm to others.

3.      Beneficence − A group of principles requiring that people prevent harm, provide benefits, and balance benefits against risks and costs.

4.      Justice − A group of principles requiring fair distribution of benefits, risks and costs.

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