Bioethics as Political Ideology

  • Mark J. Cherry
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 100)


Bioethics cannot appeal to a universal, content-full moral understanding of special goods, such as liberty, equality and health, much less secure justification for political authority to impose such a vision of social justice, without straightforwardly begging the question. Basic human rights, as envisioned for example, by the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child or UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, are rhetorical and ideological fictions. Consequently, taxation to support a particular vision of distributive justice and welfare entitlements, or legislation to secure human rights, is no more than the coercive imposition of a particular political ideology. If bioethics is to escape the culture wars, it must re-imagine itself as the market place of ideas, including moral and religious ideas, where conceptual and moral analyzes are critically and carefully explored and real diversity is respected and defended. Bioethics must cease to be an ideologically driven will to power, and recapture the social space necessary for robust expression and instantiation of diverse moral, religious, and secular worldviews.


Male Circumcision Universal Declaration Moral Authority Moral Truth Embryonic Stem Cell Research 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Dr. Patricia A. Hayes Professor in Applied Ethics, Professor of Philosophy, Department of PhilosophySt. Edward’s UniversityAustinUSA

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