Global Bioethics

  • Henk A. M. J. ten HaveEmail author
  • Bert Gordijn
Reference work entry


In this chapter two popular accounts of bioethics will be reviewed, viz. “the story of exportation” and “the story of invention.” According to these accounts, global ethics, as based on a set of universal values or principles, is either seen as imperialist and neocolonialist and thus undesirable, or as futile. As will be argued, both accounts are rejected and an alternative account will be presented, which involves a more favorable and optimistic view of global bioethics. Against the backdrop of Potter’s original conception of global bioethics and along the lines of Kymlicka’s conception of global ethics, global bioethics will be conceived as a two-level phenomenon. On an abstract level, there is a set of minimum standards, on which different traditions and cultures agree. These universal standards are expressed in international human rights language and elaborated into specific bioethics principles. On another more contextualized level, there are efforts to articulate more specific bioethics standards in the context of specific religious and cultural traditions. In addition, local specifics of cultures and traditions are important for the interpretation and application of universal standards. The two levels interact along bottom up and top down lines of communication. Hence, global bioethics is seen as the result of a global process of constructive dialogues and negotiations. It is an exponent of a more general dialectical process of globalization.


Global Community Medical Tourism Moral Community Benefit Sharing Moral Framework 
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 Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Health-care EthicsDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Institute of EthicsDublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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