Noted psychologist and philosopher develops his own brand of pragmatism, based on theories of C. S. Peirce. Emphasis on "radical empiricism," versus the transcendental and rationalist tradition. One of the most important books in American philosophy. Note.
Medical ethics enjoyed a remarkable degree of continuity from the days of Hippocrates until its long-standing traditions began to be supplanted, or at least supplemented, around the middle of the twentieth century. Scientific, technological, and social developments during that time produced rapid changes in the biological sciences and in health care. These developments challenged many prevalent conceptions of the moral obligations of health professionals and society in meeting the needs of the sick and injured .The Anglo-American textbook of Beauchamp and (...) Childress became the referential work for the discipline of `bio-ethics'. The authors are convinced that a long history of ancient, medieval and modern health care reflection remains very disappointing from the perspective of contemporary biomedical ethics: “It shows how inadequately, and with what measure of insularity, problems of truthfulness, privacy, justice, communal responsibility and the like were framed in past centuries ”. They defend the four principles approach to biomedical ethics, an approach which somewhat disparagingly has been called principlism.The influence of their work has been so strong that bio-ethics seemed to become overwhelmed by the importance of their contribution. It even created a large separation between Anglo-American approaches in bio-ethics and the European-Continental approach . In any case, contemporary biomedical ethics incorporates theoretical conflicts of considerable complexity, and the diverse theories make it no easier.The personalist approach to biomedical ethics presents itself as a typical European reaction to the rapid changes in medicine and health care. Some call it, however, a kind of renewal of the old Thomistic approach, whereby the concept of `nature' has been replaced by the more dynamic concept of `person'. In that way personalism has been situated by many observers as a `person' centred natural law tradition which focuses on the rational nature of the human person as the moral norm of nature. This gives the impression that personalism is only a very `static' variant of the natural law approach.I would, however, defend the opinion that personalism offers a very dynamic and creative approach to the complexities of recent developments in biomedicine. In what follows, I will illustrate this by clarifying two basic dimensions of the integration of personalism in biomedical ethics: the personalist approach offers a relational foundation for medicine as a healing profession and it presents an ethical framework for the integration of new developments in medicine. First, however, I would like to situate the importance of this theoretical reflection for medical ethics. (shrink)