© 2006

Bioethics in Cultural Contexts

Reflections on Methods and Finitude

  • Christoph Rehmann-Sutter
  • Marcus Düwell
  • Dietmar Mieth

Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 28)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-VII

    1. Christoph Rehmann-Sutter, Marcus Düwell, Dietmar Mieth
      Pages 1-10
  3. Fundamental Aspects

    1. Front Matter
      Pages I-VII
      Pages 13-19
    3. Christoph Rehmann-Sutter
      Pages 59-79
      Pages 81-90
  4. Classical Approaches

  5. Culture and Society

About this book


Bioethics, if it is to have adequate discriminatory power, should include sensitivity to the cultural contexts of biomedicine, and also to the cultural contexts of bioethics itself. Biomedical developments carry with them social and cultural meanings that must be taken into account if the accompanying bioethical dilemmas are to be understood.

This book discusses a range of methodological issues for an interdisciplinary bioethics. How can bioethics be an enterprise that does not only isolate issues and moral reasons but also (re)contextualises them? What are the strengths and weaknesses of different traditional and innovative modes of ethical work in terms of these tasks?

By introducing the term "finitude" in the sense of limits of human existence, limits of human knowledge and knowledge capacity, a difference was set in the cultural apprehension of medicine. Is medicine aimed at overcoming our existential limits: to fight diseases and prolong life? Finitude reintroduces the existential and cultural basis on which every medicine (limits-sensitive or off-limits medicine) depends, but it concerns also ethical judgment. An apprehension of the limitations of different ethical approaches to biomedicine, however, could strengthen the collaborative effort of an interdisciplinary bioethics that embraces also cultural studies and social sciences.


Beauchamp Biomedical ethics Childress Ethical Dilemma Ethical Issues Medical Ethics Moral bioethics ethics

Editors and affiliations

  • Christoph Rehmann-Sutter
    • 1
  • Marcus Düwell
    • 2
  • Dietmar Mieth
    • 3
  1. 1.University of BaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of UtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.University of TübingenGermany

Bibliographic information