Human Dignity and Animal Well-being: A Kantian Contribution to Biomedical Ethics

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Uppsala University, 1991 - Philosophy - 210 pages
New developments in the area of biomedicine give rise to difficult ethical questions and sometimes also to intense discussions. Reference is often made to the notion of human dignity but it is seldom clear how this notion is to be understood. What does the notion imply with regard to unborn human beings? Does the notion of a distinctive human dignity allow us to ignore the interests of animals? In this study ethical problems related to prenatal diagnosis, embryo research, transplantation of foetal tissue, certain methods of assisted reproduction and genetic intervention in human and animal life are analyzed. treat humanity merely as a means but always also as an end. From this and other principles, Kant derived the duties of respect and beneficence. These principles and duties are necessary but not sufficient in order to arrive at conclusions in ethics. We need additional moral competence in order to assess the morally relevant facts. In this study Kant's distinction between determinant and reflective judgement is used in order to give a complete exposition of his ethical system. theories available to us in discussing ethical problems related to biomedical research and clinical practice. The conclusion of the study is that the Kantian account provides a fruitful ethical approach which gives differentiated answers to the different questions posed.

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Contents

Acknowledgments
9
Ethical problems and normative positions
25
Arguments from utility and rights
66
Copyright

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