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Vol 21 No 10 Oct/Nov 2016

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Human Dignity in Bioethics and Biolaw

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ISBN13: 9780198268260
ISBN: 0198268262
Published: June 2001
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £83.00



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The concept of human dignity is increasingly invoked in bioethical debate and, indeed, in international instruments concerned with biotechnology and biomedicine. While some commentators consider appeals to human dignity to be little more than rhetoric and not worthy of serious consideration, the authors of this groundbreaking new study give such appeals distinct and defensible meaning through an application of the moral theory of Alan Gewirth.;In Part One, the book seeks to bring human dignity more clearly into focus. It sketches two opposed conceptions, 'human dignity as empowerment', which treats human rights as based on the intrinsic dignity of humans, identified with individual autonomy, and 'human dignity as constraint', which acts as an umbrella for a number of duty-driven approaches. While viewing human dignity primarily as empowerment, the authors argue that it is not autonomy as such, but vulnerable agency around which dignity as the basis of human rights is to be analyzed. Alongside this, they develop the idea of dignity as a virtue, specifically as a practical attitude to be cultivated in the face of human finitude and vulnerability. At its sharpest, dignity as a virtue indicates the aspirational path of responsible and rational agency in the context of the existential anxiety that is part and parcel of the human condition. During this analysis they pay particular attention to the similarities and differences between Kantian and Gewirthian theory.;In Part Two, the authors apply their analysis of dignity as generating rights and responsibilities to a range of activities (such as pre-natal selection, commodification of the human body, cloning, and euthanasia) running from birth with dignity through to death with dignity, and subject the use of 'human dignity' in existing regulatory frameworks to critical scrutiny.

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Subjects:
Medical Law
Contents:
1. Human Dignity and Human Rights: Human Dignity as Empowerment; 2. Human Dignity and the New Bioethics: Human Dignity as Constraint; 3. Dignity, Human Dignity, and Dignified Conduct; 4. The Principle of Generic Consistency and Its Justification; 5. Kant and Gewirth; 6. Dignity, Rights, and Virtue under the Principle of Generic Consistency; 7. Being Born with Dignity: Selecting the Genetic Characteristics of Offspring; 8. Living with Dignity I: Ownership and Commodification of the Human Body and Its Parts; 9. Living wih Dignity II: Patents and Contracts; 10. Living with Dignity III: Prolonging Life, Denying Death, and Cosmetic Augmentation; 11. Dying with Dignity; Bibliography