“Sanctity-of-Life“—A Bioethical Principle for a Right to Life?

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):295 - 308 (2012)
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Abstract

For about five decades the phrase "sanctity-of-life" has been part of the Anglo-American biomedical ethical discussion related to abortion and end-of-life questions. Nevertheless, the concept's origin and meaning are unclear. Much controversy is based on the mistaken assumption that the concept denotes the absolute value of human life and thus dictates a strict prohibition on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. In this paper, I offer an analysis of the religious and philosophical history of the idea of "sanctity-of-life." Drawing on biblical texts and interpretation as well as Kant's secularization of the concept, I argue that "sanctity" has been misunderstood as an ontological feature of biological human life, and instead locate the idea within the historical virtue-ethical tradition, which understands sanctification as a personal achievement through one's own actions

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Citations of this work

Human Rights in Bioethics–Theoretical and Applied.John-Stewart Gordon - 2012 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (3):283 - 294.

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References found in this work

The Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Critique of Practical Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1788 - Hackett Publishing.
Lectures on ethics.Immanuel Kant - 1980 - International Journal of Ethics (1):104-106.
Lectures on Ethics.Immanuel Kant - 1932 - International Journal of Ethics 43 (1):104-106.

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