History of Global Bioethics

  • Diego Gracia
Reference work entry


“Globalization” is a new concept, especially in ethics, where the term used to mean the generalization of moral duties to all mankind has been “universalization.” This word has been common in ethics since the eighteenth century, when Kant introduced the “principle of universalization” as the canon of human morality. But during the past two centuries, many things have changed, due principally to the scientific and technological developments. Telecommunications today make it possible to exchange all kinds of information immediately. The world is, for the first time, an informational network, in which everyone can know what is happening everywhere. The world, then, has become a “global village.” This globalization made possible the globalization of financial and commercial markets starting in the early 1980s. The great economic crisis suffered by the Western world since 2007, without any precedent in the history of mankind, is generally interpreted as the consequence of the achievement of a global market, without the counterweight of an effective political and moral globalization. The ideology of profit as the main goal, or the only one, in human actions is one of the causes, perhaps the most important, of the present disaster. There are two types of human values, some intrinsic and others instrumental. The first are the most important in human lives, and these cannot be measured in monetary units. Ethics deals primarily with these intrinsic values and then the importance of its culture. When, on the contrary, only the instrumental values are at stake, or when they take the first place, then what Habermas calls “strategic action” or “instrumental rationality” comes ahead. That is, perhaps, what now is happening.


Corporate Social Responsibility Global Governance Moral Duty Universal Declaration Natural Thing 
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.Complutense University of MadridMadridSpain

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