The Contingent Nature of Life
Bioethics and Limits of Human Existence
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Life and nature are imperfect, uncontrollable, and largely (and perhaps permanently) unknowable, that is to say: contingent. The contingency of life is a significant challenge for medicine and technology. Life sciences seem to broaden the possibilities of control to an extent that the contingency of life and nature is no longer self-evident. This very broad statement raises a lot of serious questions. Is it a valid diagnosis? Are the life sciences really defying the contingency of our existence? Or are we simply manipulated by utopian promises? And if contingency is really being challenged, why should we worry about it? Is contingency essential for a meaningful life and way of life? This volume explores the different ways in which the contingency of life, and especially human life, is relevant for ethical discussions and the normative frameworks of bioethics. It explores the relevance of the notion of contingency, and the desire for moral argumentation within bioethics. The authors discuss these notions from a philosophical perspective, paying special attention to the impact of life sciences on people with disabilities and to intercultural perspectives on bioethical debates. The volume also contributes to a deeper reflection on the basic philosophical assumptions of bioethics.