Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 171–179 | Cite as

A Confucian View of Personhood and Bioethics

  • Erika Yu
  • Ruiping Fan


This paper focuses on Confucian formulations of personhood and the implications they may have for bioethics and medical practice. We discuss how an appreciation of the Confucian concept of personhood can provide insights into the practice of informed consent and, in particular, the role of family members and physicians in medical decision-making in societies influenced by Confucian culture. We suggest that Western notions of informed consent appear ethically misguided when viewed from a Confucian perspective.


Confucianism Bioethics Informed consent Personhood Public policy 



The authors thank the reviewers of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry for their comments on earlier versions of this paper.

Declaration of Competing Interests

No competing interests declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public and Social AdministrationCity University of Hong KongKowloonHong Kong

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