Reasonableness and Biolaw

  • Stephanie Hennette-Vauchez
Part of the Law and Philosophy Library book series (LAPS, volume 86)

There can undoubtedly be a procedural approach to reasonableness. Alexy argues that conditions such as taking “all relevant factors” into account or “putting all relevant factors together in a correct way” (see Alexy 2009) are necessary for reasonableness to be pursued—and a fortiori achieved. In the particular field of biolaw, Faralli argues somehow similarly that reasonableness can only be reached when norms proceed from a “shared method of discussion” (rather than from an “antecedent doctrine”) and if they are based on the assumption that dilemmas faced by biolaw can not be expressed nor analyzed in terms of truth and or falseness but only pretend to be “adequately argued and justified” (see Faralli 2009). At any rate, a non-procedural (eg., substantial) approach of reasonableness may well be said to be quite unlikely in early 21st century European academic settings, for natural law theories articulated around substantial standards of validity are readily said to be out of—scientific—fashion. Indeed, it would have been surprising to hear speakers and the Reasonableness and the Law conference argue that the concept of reasonableness was a promising ground for validating certain conducts and norms as “reasonable,” and invalidating others as “unreasonable.” However, the frontier between a procedural and a substantial approach of reasonableness is not easy to draw. Consequently, and despite the above recalled procedural approach to reasonableness, the concept sets the legal theorist on a slippery slope towards axiological assessments of legal cases—a reason for which it will be argued it is best relinquished.


Human Dignity Legal Theory Moral Consensus Global Bioethic Evaluative Stance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alexy, R. 2009. The Reasonableness of Law, this volume.Google Scholar
  2. Bayertz, K. 1994. The Concept of Moral Consensus, The Case of technological interventions in human reproduction. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  3. Beauchamp, T.L., and J.F. Childress. 1979. Principles of Biomedical Ethics. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bernard, N. 2002. Multilevel Governance in the EU. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  5. Beyleveld, D., and R. Brownsword. 2001. Human Dignity in Bioethics and Biolaw. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bishop, P., and F. Jotterand. 2006. Bioethics as Biopolitics. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 31: 205–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brownsword, R. 2003. Bioethics Today, Bioethics Tomorrow: Stem Cell Research and the “Dignitarian Alliance”. University of Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy 71: 15–51.Google Scholar
  8. Brownsword, R. 2005. Stem Cells and Cloning: Where the Regulatory Consensus Fails. New England Law Review 39: 535–71.Google Scholar
  9. Brownsword, R. 2008. Rights, Regulation and the Technological Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cayla, O. 1996. Droit. In Dictionnaire d’Ethique et de Philosophie Morale. Ed. M. Canto-Sperber. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  11. Cayla, O. 2007. L’angèlisme d’une thèorie pure (du droit) chez Habermas. Revue du droit public 6: 1541–68.Google Scholar
  12. Cohen-Tanugi, L. 1987. Le droit sans l’Etat. Sur la dèmocratie en France et en Amèrique. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  13. de Búrca, G., and J. Scott, eds. 2006. Law and New Governance in the EU and the US. Oxford: Hart.Google Scholar
  14. de Sousa Santos, B. 1995. Towards a New Common Sense. Law, Science and Politics in the Paradifmatic Transition. New York, N.Y.: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Department of Health and Social Security. 1984. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilizationand Embryology.Google Scholar
  16. Engelhardt, H.T. 1986. The Foundations of Bioethics. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Engelhardt, H.T. ed. 2006. Global Bioethics: the Collapse of Consensus, Salem: M&M Scrivener.Google Scholar
  18. Faralli, C. 2009. Reasonableness, Bioethics, and Biolaw, this volume.Google Scholar
  19. Feldman, D. 1999. Human Dignity as a Legal Value (Part I). Public Law: 682–702.Google Scholar
  20. Feldman, D. 2000. Human Dignity as a Legal Value (Part II). Public Law: 61–76.Google Scholar
  21. Flis Tréves, M., D. Mehl, and E. Pisier. 1991. Contre l’acharnement lègislatif. Pouvoirs 56: 121.Google Scholar
  22. Franklin, B. 1995. The Value of Consensus. In Committee on the Social and Ethical Impacts of Development in Biomedicine. Society’s Choices: Social and Ethical Decision Making in Biomedicine. Ed. R.E. Bulger and E.M. Bobby. Washington: National Academy Press, 1995.Google Scholar
  23. Girard, C. 2006. Le droit international de la bioèthique. L’universalisation á visage humain? In Bioèthique, Biodroit, Biopolitique, Rèflexions á l’occasion de la loi du 6 août 2004. Ed. S. Hennette-Vauchez, 51–69. Paris: LGDJ.Google Scholar
  24. Greer, S. 2005. The European Convention of Human Rights. Achievements, Problems and Prospects. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Hennette-Vauchez, S. 2005. Article II–63. In Traitè ètablissant une Constitution pour l’Europe. Partie II: La Charte des droits fondamentaux. Ed. L. Burgorgue-Larsen, A. Levade and F. Picod, 52–63. Brussels: Bruylant.Google Scholar
  26. Hennette-Vauchez, S. 2008. A Human Dignitas? The Contemporary Principle of Human Dignity As a Mere Reappraisal of an Ancient Legal Concept. In EUI LAW Working Papers Series. European University Institute.
  27. Hennette-Vauchez, S. 2009. Words Count. How interest in stem cells made the embryo available: a look at the French law of bioethics. Medical Law Review. Already available in the EUI LAW Working Papers Series. European University Institute.
  28. Jasanoff, S. 2005. Designs on Nature. Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Moreno, J. 1994. Consensus by Committee: Philosophical and Social Aspects. In The Concept of Moral Consensus. The Case of technological interventions in human reproduction. Ed. K. Bayertz. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  30. Moreno, J. 1995. Deciding Together. Bioethics and Moral Consensus. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Mulkay, M. 1997. The Embryo Research Debate. Science and the Politics of Reproduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Nyssen, H., ed. 1985. Gènètique, Procrèation et Droit. Paris: Actes Sud.Google Scholar
  33. Pellegrino, E. 2000. Bioethics at the Century’s Turn: Can Normative Ethics Be Retrieved? The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 25: 655–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rosenberg, M. 1998. Overcoming Interpretation through Dialogue. A Critique of Habermas’s Proceduralist Conception of Justice. In Just Interpretations. Law Between Ethics and Politics, 114–49. Berkeley Calif.: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  35. Tao, J. 2006. A Confucian Approach to a “Shared Family Decision Model” in Health Care: Reflections on Moral Pluralism. In Global Bioethics: the Collapse of Consensus. Ed. H.T. Engelhardt. Salem: M&M Scrivener.Google Scholar
  36. Stone Sweet, A. 2004. The Judicial Construction of Europe. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Thomas, Y. 1995. Fictio Legis. L’empire de la fiction romaine et ses limites mèdièvales. Droits. Revue française de thèorie juridique 21: 17–63.Google Scholar
  38. Thomas, Y. 2002. Le sujet concret et sa personne. In Du droit de ne pas naître. A propos de l’affaire Perruche. Ed. O. Cayla and Y. Thomas, 91–170. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  39. Trotter, G. 2006. Bioethics and Deliberative Democracy: Five Warnings from Hobbes. The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 31: 235–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Trubek, D., and L. Trubek. 2006. New Governance and Legal Regulation: Complementarity, Rivalry and Transformation. Columbia Journal of European Law 13: 539.Google Scholar
  41. Walker, N., ed. 2006. Relocating Sovereignty. Dartmouth: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  42. Weiler, J.H., and M. Wind, ed. 2003. European Constitutionalism Beyond the State. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawUniversity of Paris 12 Val-de-MarneCréteilFrance

Personalised recommendations