Sanctity of Life and Menschenwürde: Can These Concepts Help Direct the Use of Resources in Critical Care?

  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJr.
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 52)


Terms often play a guiding role in the fashioning of public policy precisely because they are strategically ambiguous. They unite disparate images, hopes, feelings, and aspirations that are at root heterogeneous. They then direct their force towards particular societal concerns. Such terms play a role in influencing outcomes, not a role in leading to resolutions of moral controversies by sound rational argument. In public policy debates it is frequently useful not to scrutinize such terms too closely because these coalitions of images which can move sentiments are then brought into question. Exploring them too carefully creates a tension among ideas and images that have worked in happy but unexamined collaboration. However, as with most coalitions, there come times in which public policy discussions bring the coalition itself into question.


Critical Care Human Dignity Moral Vision Moral Authority Moral Point 
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

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Tristram EngelhardtJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Medical Ethics and Health PolicyBaylor College of Medicine/Rice UniversityHoustonUSA

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