Can Culture Justify Infant Circumcision?
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The paper addresses arguments in the recent philosophical and bioethical literature claiming that social and cultural benefits can justify non-therapeutic male infant circumcision. It rejects these claims by referring to the open future argument, according to which infant circumcision is morally unjustifiable because it violates the child’s right to an open future. The paper also addresses an important objection to the open future argument and examines the strength of the objection to refute the application of the argument to the circumcision case.
KeywordsInfant circumcision Ethics Culture Religion Rights Interests Future
I would like to thank Kerem Öktem, Sune Laegaard, and two anonymous reviewers for useful comments on earlier versions of this paper. This article is a part of the doctoral dissertation I defended at the Central European University in 2014, and has in part been funded by the Open Society Foundation through the “Signals from the Majority” project. I would also like to thank Central European University’s Department of Political Science, Columbia University’s Department of Political Science and Oxford University’s European Studies Centre for support during the research for this article.
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