Against culturally sensitive bioethics
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This article discusses the view that bioethics should become “culturally sensitive” and give more weight to various cultural traditions and their respective moral beliefs. It is argued that this view is implausible for the following three reasons: it renders the disciplinary boundaries of bioethics too flexible and inconsistent with metaphysical commitments of Western biomedical sciences, it is normatively useless because it approaches cultural phenomena in a predominantly descriptive and selective way, and it tends to justify certain types of discrimination.
KeywordsBioethics Biomedical sciences Cultural sensitivity Discrimination Diversity Normativity
The first draft of this paper was presented in December 2012 in the Theoretical Philosophy Forum at the Institute of Philosophy of the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. I am grateful to members of the audience for their comments. I also wish to thank an anonymous reviewer for Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy for helpful suggestions.
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