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The Moral Status Of Persons Perspectives on Bioethics. (Value Inquiry Book Series 96) [Paperback]

Gerhold K. Becker

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Book Description

January 2000 9042012013 978-9042012011
The advances in molecular biology and genetics, medicine and neurosciences, in ethology and environmental studies have put the concept of the person firmly on the philosophical agenda. Whereas earlier times seemed to have a clear understanding about the moral implications of personhood and its boundaries, today there is little consensus on such matters. Whether a patient in the last stages of Alzheimer's disease is still a person, or whether a human embryo is already a person are highly contentious issues.
This book tackles the issue of personhood and its moral implications head-on. The thirteen essays are representative of the major strands in the current bioethical debate and offer new insights into humanity's moral standing, its foundations, and its implications for social interaction. While most of the essays approach the issue by drawing on the rich intellectual tradition of the West, others offer a cross-cultural perspective and make available for ethical consideration the philosophical resources and the wisdom of the East. The contributors to this book are highly recognized philosophers, ethicists, theologians, and professionals in health care and medicine from East Asia (China, Japan), Europe, and North America.
The first part of the book probes the foundations of personhood. Examining critically the main theories on personhood in contemporary philosophy, the authors offer alternatives that better respond to contemporary challenges and their implications for bioethics.
The focus of the second part is firmly on the Confucian relational concept of the person and on the social constitution of personhood in traditional Japanese culture. While the essays challenge the individualistic features of personhood in the Western tradition, they lay the foundations for a richer concept that holds great promise for the resolution of moral dilemmas in modern medicine and health care.
The third part of the book enters into a dialogue with the Christian tradition and draws on its spiritual heritage in the search for answers to the contemporary challenges to human dignity and value. Its focus is on the Catholic social thought and Lutheran theology.
The fourth part addresses the moral status of persons in view of specific issues such as the effects of brain injury, gene therapy, and human cloning on personhood. It extends the scope of research beyond human beings and inquires also into the moral status of animals.

Editorial Reviews


" ... significantly expanded the intellectual horizons on the concept of personhood and thus made a valuable contribution to applied ethics - fascinating" -- Medical Humanities Review, Volume 14, Number 2, Fall 2000

About the Author


Derrick K. S. Au, Chief of Service, Department of Rehabilitation, Kowloon Hospital, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. Gerhold K. Becker, Chair Professor, Department of Religion and Philosophy, and Director of Centre for Applied Ethics, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. Ruth Chadwick, Professor of Moral Philosophy, and Head of Centre for Professional Ethics, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, U.K.

Jonathan K. L. Chan, Assistant Professor, Department of Religion and Philosophy, and Research Fellow of Centre for Applied Ethics, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. Ruiping Fan, Co-Managing Editor, The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, U.S.A. Friedrich-Wilhelm Graf, Professor of Theology, Institut für Systematische Theologie, Evangelisch-theologische Fakultät, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, München, Germany. Chad Hansen, Chair Professor of Chinese Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. Edwin Hui, Associate Professor of Biomedical Ethics and Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Dennis P. McCann, Wallace M. Alston Professor of Bible and Religion, Department of Bible and Religion, Agnes Scott College, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

Shin Ohara, Professor of Ethics, School of International Politics, Economics and Business, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan. Renzong Qiu, Director of Program in Bioethics, Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China. Michael Quante, Assistant Professor, Philosophisches Seminar, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Münster, Germany. Johannes H. C. Sun, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.

Elizabeth Telfer, Reader, Department of Philosophy, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, U.K

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