Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 647–652 | Cite as

Against culturally sensitive bioethics

  • Tomislav BracanovicEmail author
Scientific Contribution


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.


Bioethics 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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Center for Croatian StudiesUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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